A number of juvenile advocacy organizations have endorsed the introduction of two new bills in Congress. According to the Juvenile Law Center (JLC), the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY)—S. 1795 was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) in the Senate and H.R. 3740 was introduced by by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-5th/MA) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) in the House—would:
- “Streamline the application and verification process for financial aid for foster and homeless unaccompanied youth;
- Clarify eligibility for ‘independent’ student status for homeless and foster youth;
- Have colleges and universities designate single points of contact to assist homeless and foster youth to access and complete higher education and connect them with resources;
- Have colleges and universities develop a plan to assist homeless and foster youth to access housing resources during and between academic terms;
- Include homeless and foster youth in the data collected by college access programs and identify ways they can further support these students; and
- Ensure college access programs collaborate with child welfare agencies, homeless service providers, and school district homeless liaisons to identify, conduct outreach to, and recruit homeless and foster youth.”
The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017 (FSHEA)—S.1792 was intrdouced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) in the Senate and H.R.3742 was introduced by Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th/IL) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th/IL) in the House—would, according to JLC:
- “Creat[e] 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 statewide initiatives that assist foster and homeless youth in enrolling and graduating higher education; and
- Establish 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, with a $500,000 minimum grant; 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; and
- Establish intensive, statewide transition initiatives to increase the understanding, preparation, and application of foster and homeless youth to higher education.”
To support these bills, please follow JLC’s action instructions.
 “New Bills Introduced in Congress Aim for Higher Education Success for Youth in Foster Care System, Experiencing Homelessness.” Juvenile Law Center. http://jlc.org/news-room/press-releases/new-bill-introduced-congress-aim-higher-education-success-youth-foster-care.