State legislatures have been actively supporting college students experiencing homelessness over the past few years. State Laws Supporting College Students Experiencing Homelessness provides a summary of existing strong state laws. SchoolHouse Connection is working with partners in Texas on a new state law to support the thousands of Texas students striving to complete college without safe, stable housing.

State Laws Supporting College Students Experiencing Homelessness

State legislatures have been actively supporting college students experiencing homelessness over the past few years. Below is a summary of existing strong state laws. SchoolHouse Connection is working with partners in Texas on a new state law to support the thousands of Texas students striving to complete college without safe, stable housing.1

Homeless Liaisons on College Campuses

  • California AB 801 (2016) (Ca. Educ. Code §67003.5)
    • Each postsecondary educational institution must designate a staff member to serve as the Homeless and Foster Student Liaison, responsible for informing students about financial aid and other assistance available to them and assisting them to apply for and receive federal and state financial aid and available services.
  • Louisiana HB 906 (2016) (La. Rev. Stat. §§17:3399.21 – 22)
    • Each public postsecondary education institution in the state must designate a homeless and foster student liaison within its financial aid office. The liaisons are responsible for applying federal financial aid rules related to youth experiencing homelessness (or who have experienced homeless at any time over the six years prior to enrollment) and youth who were in foster care for at least six months between ages 16 and 18.

Housing Priority

  • California AB 1228 (2015) (Ca. Educ. Code §§76010, 90001.5, 92660)
    • University of California and California State University campuses that maintain student housing facilities must, and community college campuses that maintain student housing facilities are requested to:
      • Give priority for housing to current and former homeless youth and foster youth;
      • Give first priority for housing open during school breaks or year-round to current and former homeless youth and foster youth; and
      • Provide housing to current and former homeless youth and foster youth during academic breaks at no extra cost.
    • In addition, California State University, University of California and community college campuses are requested to develop a plan to ensure that current and former homeless youth and foster youth can access housing resources as needed during and between academic terms.
  • Louisiana HB 906 (2016) (La. Rev. Stat. §17:3399.24)
    • A public postsecondary education institution that offers student housing may develop a plan to provide access to housing resources during and between academic terms for current and former homeless and youth. The plan also may give them priority for housing placement and offer placement in housing facilities that remain open during the most days in a calendar year.

Priority Enrollment

  • California AB 801 (2016) (Ca. Educ. Code §66025.9)
    • University of California, California State University and each community college that offers priority enrollment shall grant priority enrollment to current and former homeless youth and foster youth.

Tuition and/or Fee Waivers

  • California AB 801 (2016) (Ca. Educ. Code §76300)
    • Homeless students are exempt from paying community college student fees.
  • Florida §1009.25 (1991)
    • A student who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, or who lives in a shelter or a public or private place not ordinarily used as regular accommodation, is exempt from the payment of tuition and fees for a school district workforce education program, Florida College System institution, or state university.
  • Maryland HB 482 (2014) and HB 400 (2016) (Ann. Code of Md. §15-106.1)
    • An unaccompanied homeless youth or foster care recipient is exempt from paying tuition at a public institution of higher education, if the youth is enrolled as a candidate for a vocational certification, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree prior to turning 25 years old and has applied for federal and state financial aid. Exemption lasts for five years or until the student receives a bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first.
  • Washington SB 2674 (2018)
    • Through the Passport to Careers Program, unaccompanied homeless youth and foster youth receive a scholarship that assists with the cost of attending college (tuition, fees, books, housing, transportation, and some personal expenses). To meet eligibility requirements, students must be enrolled at least on a half-time basis with an institution of higher education or a registered apprenticeship or preapprenticeship in Washington state by age 21 and not pursue a degree in theology. An eligible student will receive the scholarship for a maximum of five years after the student first enrolls, or until the students turns 26 years old, whichever occurs first.

In-State Tuition

  • Colorado HB 16-1100 (2016) (Co. Rev. Stat. §§23-7-102 and 23-7-103.5)
    • Unaccompanied homeless youth under 22 years old can establish residency independently (regardless of the residency of a parent/legal guardian) for the purposes of paying in-state tuition for Colorado junior colleges, colleges, and universities.
  • Louisiana HB 906 (2016) (La. Rev. Stat. §17:3399.23)
    • A public postsecondary education institution may grant resident status to a student who: currently resides in Louisiana; is 19 years old or younger at the time of enrollment; and was homeless at any time during the two years immediately preceding enrollment.

Identifying Students Experiencing Homelessness

  • Washington SB 2674 (2018)
    • Institutions of higher education shall include on their applications for admission or on their registration materials a question asking whether the applicant has experienced unaccompanied homelessness or been or in foster care, with an explanation that financial and support services may be available. Institutions also shall devise and implement other procedures for efficiently, promptly, and accurately identifying students and applicants who are eligible for services.

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