Two key pieces of legislation were introduced in Congress to support higher education access and completion for youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness or been involved with foster care. Youth experiencing homelessness and youth from foster care face unique barriers to accessing and completing higher education. Lack of family and supports, coupled with histories of neglect, abuse, trauma, mobility, and deep poverty, create roadblocks to their path to and through post-secondary 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 (HEASHFY) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Katherine Clark (D-5th/MA) and Don Young (R-AK).
- Streamlines the application and verification process for financial aid for homeless unaccompanied youth
- Requires colleges and universities designate to single points of contact to assist homeless and foster youth to access and complete higher education and connect them with resources; and
- Requires colleges and universities develop a plan to assist homeless and foster youth to access housing resources during and between academic terms
- Improves support and coordination in college access programs
Learn more about HEASHYF.
The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017 (FSHEA) is 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.
- Establishes or expands transitions between K-12 and higher education for foster and homeless youth, including summer bridge programs, through statewide initiatives; and
- Develops “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
Learn more about FSHEA.
- Urge your Members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of both bills. We've created two sample letters in Microsoft Word – one for your U.S. Senators, and one for your U.S. Representative. Please download the letters and personalize them with local or state facts, as well as your own perspectives and experiences. Contact information for U.S. Senators may be found here. Contact information for U.S. Representatives may be found here.
- If you represent a local, state, or national organization, sign your organization on as a supporter of the bills by filling out this form.
SHC and NN4Y Policy Webinars: Join NN4Y and SchoolHouse Connection on Thursday, September 21st or Tuesday, September 26th for a webinar that will provide the latest updates on federal legislation related to child, youth, and family homelessness.
Topics to be covered include the FY2018 budget; two new bills to improve access to higher education for homeless and foster youth; the reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act; the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HUD Homeless Assistance reform), and the AHEAD Act (school-housing partnership legislation). Learn about the latest developments, get your questions answered, and find out what you can do to help.