October 21, 2019

Kaine Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill To Provide Higher Education Support For Homeless Students And Foster Youth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) cosponsored the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act, a bill to help homeless and foster students get the support they need to access and succeed in higher education. This legislation, which Kaine also cosponsored last Congress, was introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

“Every student deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education, but homeless and foster youth often face unique obstacles and don’t get the support they need,” Kaine said. “I’m proud this legislation will help remove barriers and empower students to access knowledge for a more promising future.”  

The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act encourages colleges and universities to work with the federal government to improve outreach to and resources for homeless and foster youth, including streamlining FAFSA, easing the burden of verification, clarifying eligibility for financial aid, helping students access housing options between terms, and designating liaisons to help provide services for these vulnerable students. It also requires the U.S. Department of Education to help resolve questions about a student’s independence, publish more transparent data on the number of homeless and foster youth served, and ensure its grant programs identify, recruit, and prepare homeless and foster students for college. The bill also provides in-state tuition rates for those students who haven’t had stable residency.

A member of the Senate Foster Youth Caucus, Kaine introduced the Foster Care Tax Credit Act in May to offer foster families a tax credit similar to the Child Tax Credit. In 2016, Kaine’s Family Unification, Preservation and Modernization Act, which makes young people aging out of the foster care system eligible for housing assistance, was signed into law as part of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.

National organizations endorsing the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act include: Alliance for Excellent Education, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, Center for Law and Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Advocacy Institute, Children’s Defense Fund, Education Reform Now Advocacy, Family Focused Treatment Association, Family Promise, First Focus Campaign for Children, Girls Inc., Healthy Teen Network, Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, Juvenile Law Center, National Association of Counsel for Children, National Association of Social Workers, National Center on Adoption and Permanency, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Crittenton, National Education Association, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, National Network for Youth, Partnering for Change, School Social Work Association of America, SchoolHouse Connection, SparkAction, StandUp For Kids, Teach Plus, The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research, True Colors United, Young Invincibles, and Youth Villages.

Text of the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act can be found HERE.

A fact sheet on the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act can be found HERE.

###