June 4, 2019
Press Release

(Rochester, NY) – Recently, during National Foster Care month, Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25) joined colleagues Representatives Danny Davis (IL-7) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8) to introduce legislation that helps foster and homeless youth succeed in college.

“Too many Americans face barriers to pursuing higher education – and for foster and homeless youth, those obstacles to success can be insurmountable,” said Rep. Morelle. “Every young person deserves the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. It is my hope that this legislation helps to support vulnerable students and bring them one step closer to achieving their dreams.

“Colleges and universities, despite their best efforts, are not always prepared for the challenges facing students struggling with homelessness as the required wrap around services and supports can be significant,” said Dr. Elaine Spaull, Executive Director, The Center for Youth Services. “This legislation identifies the importance of working with community based homeless providers to ensure that these students are successful and have all barriers removed.  As the largest youth-servicing homeless provider in our community, we offer our full support for this legislation.” 

Fewer than 20 percent of foster youth graduate high school, and fewer than 10 percent of those who attempt college will obtain a postsecondary credential by the age of 25. The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act would improve college access, retention, and completion rates for foster and homeless youth by substantially improving state capacity to support these students as they transition to and attend college. 

The bill would invest $150 million each year in states, tribes, and territories to establish or expand statewide initiatives to assist foster and homeless youth in enrolling in and graduating from higher education.  Specifically, the bill dedicates 70 percent of state grants to develop “Institutions of Excellence” committed to serving foster and homeless youth via substantial financial assistance and robust support services.  The bill further directs 25 percent of state grants to intensive, statewide transition initiatives to help foster and homeless high schoolers prepare for and enroll in college.