A bill that would reduce barriers to education for youth who are homeless or in their respective state’s foster care system has been introduced by Democratic Senators Patty Murray, of Washington; Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana, and Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin.
The bill would amend the Higher Education Act to
- Define youth under age 24 who are unaccompanied and homeless as “independent students.”
- Prioritize youth who are homeless and/or in their foster care system 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,” said Sen. Murray. “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.”