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Sign On to Support Homeless and Foster Youth in Higher Education: Two Bills
Youth experiencing homelessness and youth from foster care face unique barriers to accessing and completing higher education. Lack of family and other supports, coupled with histories of neglect, abuse, trauma, mobility, and deep poverty, create substantial roadblocks to their path to and through postsecondary education. Yet higher education is their best opportunity for economic independence and healthier lives.

The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act and the Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017 are complementary bills that help homeless and foster youth transition successfully to higher education and receive the financial aid and other supports they need to complete their degrees.

The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act, sponsored by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) in the U.S. Senate, and by U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark (D-5th/MA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th/IL) and Don Young (R At Large/AK) in the U.S. House of Representatives, amends the Higher Education Act and uses eligibility for federal financial aid to improve outreach, resources, and policies for homeless and foster youth by:

* Streamlining the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federal financial aid process
* Assisting with housing options between terms
* Designating a single point of contact to help students access services
* Prioritizing homeless and foster youth for Federal Work-Study
* Asking states to grant in-state tuition rates for those students who haven’t had stable residency

The text of the Murray/Portman/Clark/Young bill may be found here: https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/BOM171892.pdf

A one-page fact sheet of the Murray/Portman/Clark/Young bill may be found here: https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/HEASHFY-2017-Fact-Sheet_Final-Sept.pdf

The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017, sponsored by U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis (D-7th/IL) in the U.S. House of Representatives and by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) in the U.S. Senate, authorizes a new grant program in the Higher Education Act administered by the US Department of Education to provide $150 million a year in formula grants to states, tribes, and territories to:

* Establish or expand transitions between K-12 and higher education for foster and homeless youth, including summer bridge programs, through statewide initiatives; and
* Develop “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.

The text of the Davis/Franken bill may be found here: http://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FY_003_xml.pdf

Please use the form below to endorse these important bills. For more information, please contact Barbara Duffield at SchoolHouse Connection, barbara@schoolhouseconnection.org, Jenny Pokempner, Child Welfare Policy Director, Juvenile Law Center, at jpokempner@jlc.org, or Eric Masten, Policy Director, National Network for Youth, eric.masten@nn4y.org

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