Take Action to Help Homeless and Foster Youth Succeed in Higher Education.

The Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

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 upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act provides a critical opportunity to remove barriers and increase supports for college access, retention, and completion for homeless and foster youth.

Current Status

On February 9, 2022, bipartisan, bicameral legislation was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, geared towards removing barriers to higher education access and success caused by homelessness and foster care. The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act of 2022 (HEASHFY) was introduced by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in the Senate, and by U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark (D-5th/MA) and Don Young (R-At Large/AK) in the House of Representatives. 

Click here to read about three other current policy proposals that seek to remove barriers to higher education for homeless and foster youth.

Resources and Facts

  • A fact sheet on HEASHFY by the Congressional sponsors may be found here.
  • Text of the Senate bill may be found here.
  • Text of the House bill may be found here.
  • A list of organizational supporters may be found here.

Take Action!


HEASHFY amends the Higher Education Act to simplify eligibility for federal financial aid and to improve outreach, resources, and policies for homeless and foster youth. The legislation:

  • Require institutions of higher education to develop a plan to assist and give priority to homeless and foster youth for any on-campus housing during and between academic terms.
  • Designate liaisons at each institution of higher education to assist homeless and foster youth in accessing student support services and community resources.
  • Provide accessible information on college websites about the financial aid process and resources available to homeless and foster youth.
  • Require colleges to include voluntary questions on admissions applications about students’ status as homeless and foster youth in order to facilitate support services and provide outcome data.
  • Prioritize homeless and foster youth in Federal Work-Study positions.
  • Create an ‘ombudsman’ the U.S. Department of Education to intervene in cases where a homeless or foster youth’s determination process is disputed by the institution.
  • Provide homeless and foster youth in-state tuition rates to reduce barriers to college attendance due to lack of financial support, particularly when they haven’t had stable residency.
  • Facilitate the recruitment, participation, and retention of homeless and foster youth in the TRIO and GEAR UP college access programs.
  • Include homeless and foster youth in the data collected by college access programs.
  • Require federal professional development and guidance to financial aid administrators and other personnel on best practices to support homeless and foster youth.

A SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader testify before the Senate HELP Committee on higher education barriers and solutions.

List of Endorsing Organizations

*as of May 2022



National Organizations:

Alliance for Positive Youth Development
Association of Children’s Residential & Community services (ACRC)
Boys Town
C4 Innovations
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Children’s Advocacy Institute
Children’s Defense Fund
Children’s Rights
EDGE Consulting Partners
Family Centered Treatment Foundation
Family Promise
First Focus Campaign for Children
First Quarter Strategies
First Star Institute
Haynes-Maslow Logistics & Consulting
Higher Learning Advocates
Juvenile Law Center
Maddy Day LLC & Associates
MV Learning, LLC
National Association of Counsel for Children
National Center on Adoption and Permanency
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Crittenton
National Education Association
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington in Seattle
SchoolHouse Connection
S.D.M. Consulting
Student Housing Advocate Alliance
The Family Focused Treatment Association
The Field Center
The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice
Think of Us
Youth Law Center
Youth Villages

State and Local Organizations:

15th Night (Eugene, OR)
18 Degrees (West Springfield, MA)
ACTION Ohio (Columbus, OH)
Agora Cyber Charter School (Douglassville, PA)
All About the Youth Community Center (AAYCC) (Monaca, PA)
All Saints Church Foster Care Project (Pasadena, CA)
Ardmore City Schools (Ardmore, OK)
Bellevue School District (Bellevue, WA)
Belmont Charter School (Philadelphia, PA)
California Youth Connection (Sacramento, CA)
Center for Transforming Lives (Fort Worth, TX)
Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (Bend, OR)
Chicago HOPES for Kids (Chicago, IL)
Child Care Services Association (Chapel Hill, NC)
Children’s Advocacy Alliance (Las Vegas, NV)
Children’s Home Society of North Carolina (Raleigh, NC)
Children’s Law Center of California (Monterey Park, CA)
Community Education Partnerships (Berkeley, CA)
Community Outreach through Radical Empowerment (CORE) (Eugene, OR)
Connecticut Voices for Children (New Haven. CT)
Dane County Youth Action Board (Madison, WI)
Deming Public Schools (Deming, NM)
Direction Service (Springfield/Eugene. OR)
Ecumenical Social Action Committee, Inc. (Boston, MA)
ECYEH Regional Coord (Doylestown, PA)
Family Promise of Colorado Springs (Colorado Spring, CO)
Foster Forward (East Providence, RI)
Fostering Success Michigan (Decatur, MI)
Gilliam County Family Services (Gilliam County, OR)
H.O.M.E.S Campaign (Wilmington, DE)
Healthy Healed Whole LLC (Charlotte, NC)
Henry County Board of Education (Lithonia, GA)
HerStory Ensemble LLC (Wilmington, DE)
Holy Wisdom Monastery (Middleton, WI)
Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County (Madison, WI)
John Burton Advocates for Youth (San Francisco, CA)
Kalispell HEART Program (Kalispell, MT)
KidsVoice (Pittsburgh, PA)
Lane Community College (Eugene, OR)
Law Foundation of Silicon Valley (San Jose, CA)
Law Office of Kara Jennings LLC (Toledo, OH)
Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (LCYC) (Seattle, WA)
Lockport City School District (Lockport, NY)
LYTE Collective (Chicago, IL)
Maddy Day LLC & Associates (Kalamazoo, MI)
Maslow Project (Medford, OR)
Medford School District (Medford, OR)
Menominee Indian School District (Keshena, WI)
MICAH (Saint Charles, MN)
MOSES (Madison, WI)
My Friend’s Place (Los Angeles, CA)
NCSU Feed the Pack Food Pantry (Raleigh, NC)
Nevada Kids Foundation, Inc. (Reno, NV)
Nevada System of Higher Education (Las Vegas & Reno, NV)
Oak Tree Resources (Durango, CO)
OHIO YAB (Columbus, OH)
Outreach, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN)
Ozone House Youth & Family Services (Ypsilanti, MI)
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (Harrisburg, PA)
People’s Emergency Center (Philadelphia, PA)
PFLAG (Wilmington, DE)
Power4Good (Providence, RI)
Pressley Ridge (Pittsburgh, PA)
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (Providence, RI)
Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center (Denver, CO)
RowlandUSD-Family Resource Center (La Puente, CA)
Sacramento LGBT Community Center (Sacramento, CA)
Safe Place for Youth (Culver City, CA)
Salvation Army (Madison, WI)
Sanctuary of Hope (Los Angeles, CA)
SUN Scholars Inc. (West Hartford, CT)
Tenant Resource Center (Madison, WI)
Texas Appleseed (Austin, TX)
TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children (Austin, TX)
The Center for Urban Youth and Family Development (Detroit, MI)
Think Kids, Inc. (South Charleston, WV)
Truckee Meadows Community College (Reno, NV)
United Way of Dane County (Madison, WI)
UpSpring (Cincinnati, OH)
Voices for Vermont’s Children (Worcester, VT)
Volunteers of America Northern New England (Brunswick, ME)
Woodstown Pilesgrove-Regional School District (Woodstown, NJ)
YouthCare (Seattle, WA)

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