Senate Bill to Make College Affordable and Accessible for Homeless, Foster Care Youth

Senate Bill to Make College Affordable and Accessible for Homeless, Foster Care Youth
Susan Dutca-Lovell

A bipartisan group of U.S House of Representatives and U.S. Senate lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would help homeless students and foster youth get the financial support they need for college. The bill would also remove other barriers to higher education, such as providing housing options, improving outreach, and streamlining the FAFSA to homeless and foster care students.

Currently, there are more than 1.3 million homeless students in U.S. public schools and roughly 428,000 are in foster care. The "common-sense legislation" would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and aims to "remove unnecessary barriers and make college more affordable for these youth."

Congresswoman Katherine Clark sponsored The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act of 2017, which would require the U.S. Department of Education to help homeless and foster care students answer questions about their independent status. Under the act, federal programs would identify, recruit and prepare homeless youth and foster care youth for higher education. Colleges and universities would also be required to "streamline eligibility determinations for financial aid" and states would be encouraged to grant in-state tuition rates for homeless students and foster care students due to lack of financial support.

In addition to federal programs that aim to provide financial aid for homeless students and foster youth, there are scholarships for homeless and formerly homeless students, as well as scholarships for foster care youth.

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