BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 801


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          Date of Hearing:  April 21, 2015


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          AB 801  
          (Bloom) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


          [Note: This bill is doubled referred to the Assembly Human  
          Services Committee and will be heard as it relates to issues  
          under its jurisdiction.]
          


          SUBJECT:  Postsecondary education:  Success for Homeless Youth  
          in Higher Education Act


          SUMMARY:  Enacts the Success for Homeless Youth in Higher  
          Education Act.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires the California State University (CSU) and each  
            California Community College (CCC) district (CCD) and requests  
            the University of California (UC), with respect to each campus  
            in their respective jurisdictions that administers a priority  
            enrollment system, grant priority in said system for  
            registration for enrollment to a current or former homeless  
            youth.


          2)Defines "homeless" per the same meaning as defined in Section  
            725 of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act;  
            defines "homeless youth" to mean a person who is 24 years of  








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            age or younger and who has been determined to be homeless at  
            any time during the current calendar year; and, defines  
            "former homeless youth" to mean a person who is 24 years of  
            age or younger, and who, while not currently homeless, has  
            been determined to be homeless, at any time in the immediately  
            preceding six calendar years, by any of the following:  a) a  
            homeless services provider, as defined; b) the director of a  
            federal TRIO program or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness  
            for Undergraduate Programs program, or a designee of that  
            director; and, c) a financial aid administrator for an  
            institution of higher education.


          3)Requires a qualifying postsecondary educational institution,  
            as defined, to do both of the following:  a) designate a  
            Homeless and Foster Student Liaison within the institution's  
            financial aid office; and, b) inform current and prospective  
            students of the institution about student financial aid and  
            other assistance available to current and former homeless  
            and/or foster youth, including their eligibility as  
            independent students, per the federal Higher Education Act  
            (HEA).


          4)Specifies that the designated Homeless and Foster Student  
            Liaison shall be responsible for understanding the provisions  
            of the federal HEA pertaining to independent student status  
            and financial aid eligibility of current and former foster  
            youth and unaccompanied current and former homeless youth, and  
            shall assist said students in applying for and receiving  
            federal and state financial aid.


          5)Specifies that the definitions of current and former foster  
            youth and/or homeless youth, as defined, apply for the entire  
            measure.


          6)Clarifies that the UC Regents are requested to adopt policies,  








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            as specified, to the extent that is feasible and equivalent to  
            the provisions of the measure, as specified.


          7)Specifies that a student who currently resides in California,  
            and is 19 years of age or under at the time of enrollment, may  
            be entitled to resident classification until he/she has  
            resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a  
            resident if he/she has been determined at any time during the  
            two years immediately preceding the residency classification  
            determination to be homeless, as defined.


          8)Requires the Community College Student Financial Aid Outreach  
            Program to provide financial aid training to high school and  
            community college counselors and advisors on the specific  
            needs of current and former homeless youth.


          9)Authorizes the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to  
            include pupils who are current and former homeless youth to  
            receive support under CSAC's Student Opportunity and Access  
            Program.


          10)Authorizes the governing board of each CCC, at the time of  
            enrollment of a current or former foster youth, to receive the  
            BOG Fee Waiver.


          11)Specifies that if this measure is deemed a state mandate by  
            the Commission on State Mandates, appropriate entities will be  
            reimbursed.


          12)Makes clarifying and technical changes to existing law.


          EXISTING LAW:  








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          1)Requires, until January 1, 2017, the CSU and each CCD and  
            requests the UC, with respect to each campus in their  
            respective jurisdictions that administers a priority  
            enrollment system, to grant priority registration for  
            enrollment of current or former foster youth (Education Code  
            Section 66025.9).

          2)Establishes the Community College Student Financial Aid  
            Outreach Program, which, among other things, provides  
            financial aid training to high school and community college  
            counselors and advisors who work with students planning to  
            attend or attending a CCC.  The training addresses the  
            specific needs of all of the following:  a) CCC students  
            intending to transfer to a four-year institution of higher  
            education; b) foster youth; and, c) students with disabilities  
            (EC Section 69514.5).



          3)Authorizes, CSAC as the administrators of the Student  
            Opportunity and Access Program, to apportion funds on a  
            progress payment schedule for the support of projects designed  
            to increase the accessibility of postsecondary educational  
            opportunities for any of the following elementary and  
            secondary school pupils:  a) pupils who are from low-income  
            families; b) pupils who would be the first in their families  
            to attend college; and, c) pupils who are from schools or  
            geographic regions with documented low-eligibility or college  
            participation rates (EC Section 69561).



          4)Waives the forty-six dollars per unit per semester from  
            certain CCC students if, after meeting minimum academic and  
            progress standards adopted by the CCC Board of Governors  
            (BOG), meet one of the following criteria:  a) at the time of  
            enrollment are recipients of benefits under the Temporary  
            Assistance for Needy Families program, the Supplemental  








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            Security Income/State Supplementary Payment Program, or a  
            general assistance program; b) demonstrates eligibility  
            according to income standards established by regulations of  
            the CCC BOG; c) demonstrates financial need in accordance with  
            the methodology set forth in federal law or regulation for  
            determining the expected family contribution of students  
            seeking financial aid; d) at the time of enrollment is a  
            dependent or surviving spouse who has not remarried, of any  
            member of the California National Guard who, in the line of  
            duty and while in the active service of the state, was killed,  
            died of a disability resulting from an event that occurred  
            while in the active service of the state, or is permanently  
            disabled as a result of an event that occurred while in the  
            active service of the state; e) any student who is the  
            surviving spouse or the child, natural or adopted, of a  
            deceased person who qualified for the fee waiver; and, f) any  
            student in an undergraduate program, including a student who  
            has previously graduated from another undergraduate or  
            graduate program, who is the dependent of any individual  
            killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the  
            World Trade Center and the Pentagon or the crash of United  
            Airlines Flight 93 in southwestern Pennsylvania, if that  
            dependent meets the financial need requirements, as specified,  
            and either of the following applies:  (i) the dependent was a  
            resident of California on September 11, 2001; and, (ii) the  
            individual killed in the attacks was a resident of California  
            on September 11, 2001 (EC Section 76300).
           
          FEDERAL LAW:  Defines the term "homeless children and youth" to  
          mean individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate  
          nighttime residence, as specified, including, but not limited  
          to, the following:  1) children and youth who are sharing the  
          housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic  
          hardship, or a similar reason; 2) are living in motels, hotels,  
          trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative  
          adequate accommodations; 3) are living in emergency or  
          transitional shelters; 4) are abandoned in hospitals; 5) are  
          awaiting foster care placement; 6) have a primary nighttime  
          residence that is a public or private place not designed for or  








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          ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human  
          beings; and, 7) are living in cars, parks, public spaces,  
          abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations,  
          or similar settings (42 U.S.C. Section 11301, et seq.).


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  Background.  According to the National Association  
          for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY),  
          college homelessness is a serious issue that is often  
          overlooked; there exists an assumption that if someone is  
          homeless, he/she is so focused on basic needs like food and  
          shelter that school is not a concern.  However, NAEHCY contends  
          that for homeless youth, education is the answer to providing  
          homeless youth means to be able to enter into the work force,  
          earn a living, and no longer be homeless.  



          To note, there is no concrete estimate for the number of  
          homeless college students nationwide, but 58,158 college  
          applicants indicated that they were homeless on federal  
          financial aid forms for the 2012-13 academic year (most recent  
          data available to date); which, according to NAEHCY, is up eight  
          percent from 53,705 in the previous year, according to federal  
          data.  NAEHCY argues that the number is likely understated,  
          since some students may be staying in a car, relatives' or  
          fellow classmates' couches, or motels, and do not realize they  
          are technically homeless, or do not want to admit to it.   
          Additionally, California has the highest rate of homeless youth  
          in the nation and twice the rate of homeless students as the  
          national average (four percent in CA vs. two percent  
          nationally).  



          Purpose of this measure.  According to the author, in the  








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          2012-13 school year, in California, there were 18,000 homeless  
          pupils in grade 12 alone; yet only 10,208 California college  
          students in total indicated a status of being homeless and  
          unaccompanied.  The author contends that the data indicates that  
          many homeless youth are not matriculating into higher education  
          and/or are not receiving the financial aid to which they are  
          entitled.  The author states, "This bill seeks to address state  
          barriers to financial assistance for homeless youth."  This  
          measure will also bring parity among current and former homeless  
          youth to that of current and former foster youth, who already  
          receive some exemptions and waivers in current law (e. g.  
          priority enrollment status).

           

          Committee considerations.  As mentioned in the "Existing Law"  
          section of this analysis, there are several  
          categories/classifications of students who, upon enrollment at  
          the CCC, automatically qualify for the BOG Fee Waiver.  This  
          measure will add current and former homeless youth to said list.  
           



          To note, according to the CCC Chancellor's Office, more than  
          likely, current and potentially former homeless youth currently  
          benefit from the BOG Fee Waiver based on their needs.  



          This measure would automatically allow all current and former  
          homeless students, regardless of need, to benefit from the BOG  
          Fee Waiver.  Moving forward, the author may wish to determine if  
          it is financially prudent for the state to specifically add  
          another category/classification of students to the existing list  
          of those students who automatically qualify for the BOG Fee  
          Waiver. 










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          Additionally, as drafted, the measure tasks the qualifying  
          institutions with designating a Homeless and Foster Student  
          Liaison within the institutions' financial aid office.  Some  
          campuses that already have programs and services in place for  
          current and former foster and homeless youth have a "one stop  
          shop" for said students to receive all the services they  
          require, including financial aid assistance.



          Moving forward, the author may wish to remove the requirement  
          that the Homeless and Foster Student Liaison must be housed only  
          in the institutions' financial aid offices.



          Related legislation.  AB 1228 (Gipson and Atkins), which will be  
          heard by this Committee today, would, among other things,  
          request and require, as specified, California' s public  
          postsecondary institutions to provide priority campus housing to  
          current and former homeless youth, as defined.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          California Coalition for Youth (co-sponsor)


          County Welfare Directors Association of California


          Housing California (co-sponsor)








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          National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and  
          Youth (co-sponsor)


          National Center for Youth Law


          1 Individual




          Opposition


          None on file.








          Analysis Prepared by:Jeanice Warden / HIGHER ED. / (916)  
          319-3960



















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