Join the Education Law Center in supporting The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act and The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017
Join the Education Law Center in supporting The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY) and The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017 (FSHEA). Passage of these new bills will mean that youth who are homeless and those who are from the foster care system will be able to enroll, afford, and graduate with a college degree. Join us in supporting this important legislation by usoing these forms to send a letter of support to your U.S. Senator and your U.S. Representative. Please download the letters and personalize them with local or state facts, as well as your own perspectives and experiences. Contact information for U.S. Senators may be found here. Contact information for U.S. Representatives may be found here. Sign your organization on as a supporter of the bills by filling out this form.
The Education Law Center strongly supports the HEASHFY Act introduced this week by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and by Representatives Katherine Clark (D-5th/MA) and Don Young (R-AK). “We know from our experience that youth experiencing homelessness and those in foster care confront unique barriers to accessing and completing higher education,” said Maura McInerney, Senior Attorney at the Education Law Center. “These two bills will be a game-changer for our youth because they address the core barriers they confront: from having verification of their independent status, to navigating the high cost of tuition, to ensuring housing between semesters. Passage of these new bills will mean that youth who are homeless and those who are from the foster care system will be able to enroll, afford, and graduate with a degree.”
Specifically, the HEASHFY streamlines the application and verification process for financial aid for foster and homeless unaccompanied youth; clarifies eligibility for “independent” student status for homeless and foster youth; strengthens recruitment of these students; requires colleges and universities to designate single points of contact to assist homeless and foster youth to access and complete higher education and connects them with resources; provides housing resources during and between academic terms; and includes homeless and foster youth in the data collected by college access programs and identify ways they can further support these students; and
The FSHEA improves college access, retention, and completion rates for foster and homeless youth by substantially improving state capacity to support students by creating a new grant program in the Higher Education Act administered by the US Department of Education to establish or expand statewide initiatives that assist foster and homeless youth in enrolling and graduating from higher education and establishing formula grants to states based on a state’s share of foster youth and homeless youth among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Act also develops “institutions of excellence” committed to serving foster and homeless youth from entrance to completion via robust support services and by covering the remaining cost of attendance beyond federal and state grants; and establishing intensive, statewide transition initiatives to increase the preparation and application of foster and homeless youth to higher education.