Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Helping Foster and Homeless Youth Achieve Act last Thursday, December 9, 2021.  CWLA has endorsed the legislation.

The bipartisan legislation seeks to improve access to educational opportunities by requiring that higher education institutions receiving federal assistance waive application fees for young people who are homeless or in foster care.

“Foster and homeless youth in Nevada and across the nation face significant financial barriers to pursuing higher education,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan bill will help Nevada’s homeless and foster youth more easily take this early step toward additional education and training by eliminating application fees and reducing the strain they face. This is an important step to make higher education more financially accessible.”

“Kids facing homelessness, or in the foster care system, face an uphill battle when trying to pursue higher education. It is in all of our interests to ensure services for these children are a priority in existing federal programs,” said Senator Portman. “This common-sense, bipartisan legislation will remove unnecessary barriers and make college more affordable for these youths.

The bill is endorsed by numerous national organizations, including Schoolhouse Connection, National Association of Counsel for Children, Children’s Advocacy Institute, National Network for Youth, and the Child Welfare League of America.

In offering our endorsement, CWLA President & CEO said, “We are pleased to endorse the Helping Foster and Homeless Youth Achieve Act. This legislation takes an important step in helping young students navigate the multiple challenges of homelessness, foster care and financial barriers to higher education,” said Christine James-Brown, President & CEO of the Child Welfare League of America. “CWLA appreciates Senator Rosen’s attention to the needs of these young people, and we look forward to working with her on its passage.”

Other comments included:

“Youth experiencing homelessness and youth in foster care face many barriers to higher education, including deep poverty, histories of trauma, and lack of family support. Yet postsecondary education is increasingly necessary to avoid poverty and homelessness as adults,” said Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of Schoolhouse Connection. By waiving college application fees, the Helping Foster and Homeless Youth Achieve Act helps level the playing field and open the door to opportunity. We strongly support this legislation and urge Congress to pass it quickly.”

Amy C. Harfeld, National Policy Directory for Children’s Advocacy Institute, said, “College opens doors and opportunities,” said “Let’s open the first one for homeless and foster youth by waiving burdensome application fees to send these promising students on their way.”