Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced S. 1754, the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act, on November 21. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
The legislation makes changes to the Higher Education Act to address ongoing barriers to higher education for homeless and foster youth. Among them, the measure would:
• Define youth under age 24 who are unaccompanied and homeless as “independent students.”
• Prioritize homeless and foster youth for financial aid and other opportunities to make college more affordable.
• Require higher education institutions to create a plan to help homeless and foster students to access housing resources during and between school terms.
• Require new data and outcome monitoring requirements, as well as a U.S. Government Accountability Office study of higher education outcomes for homeless and foster youth.
“A college degree is a critical stepping stone to a successful career, and every American deserves the same opportunity to go to college and chase their dreams, including young people who are homeless or in foster care,” Senator Murray said. “The legislation I introduced isn’t complicated; it simply reduces some of the incredible barriers that homeless and foster care youth face to make a better life through higher education.”
S. 1764 will be available at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php.