BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:   April 28, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES


                                  Kansen Chu, Chair


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


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


          SUMMARY:  Establishes the Success for Homeless Youth in Higher  
          Education Act to increase access to postsecondary education for  
          homeless youth. 


          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Adds homeless youth and former homeless youth, as defined, to  
            current requirements for California State University (CSU) and  
            California Community College districts (CCDs), and current  
            requests of the University of California (UC), to grant  
            priority to foster youth and former foster youth for  
            registration for enrollment.


          2)Defines "homeless" per the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless  
            Assistance Act, as specified.


          3)Defines "homeless youth" to mean a person 24 years old or  
            younger who has been determined to be homeless at any time  








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            during the current calendar year by specified individuals.


          4)Defines "former homeless youth" to mean a person 24 years old  
            or younger who, while not currently homeless, has been  
            determined to be homeless at any time in the preceding six  
            years by specified individuals.


          5)Repeals the provision requiring the priority enrollment of  
            homeless youth and former homeless youth on January 1, 2020.   
            Further, extends the sunset date of the current law pertaining  
            to priority enrollment for foster youth and former foster  
            youth from January 1, 2017, to January 1, 2020.



          6)Requires a qualifying postsecondary educational institution,  
            as defined, and requests the UC Regents, to adopt policies, if  
            feasible, to: 



             a)   Designate a Homeless and Foster Student Liaison with  
               required responsibilities within its financial aid office,  
               as specified; and

             b)   Inform current and prospective students about financial  
               aid and other available assistance, as specified, for  
               current and former homeless youth and current and former  
               foster youth.



          1)States that a student who currently resides in California and  
            is not over the age of 19 at the time of enrollment may be  
            entitled to a resident classification until residency is  
            established if he or she is determined at any time in the two  
            years immediately preceding the residency classification to  








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            have been homeless, as defined. 

          2)Expands the scope of the Community College Student Financial  
            Aid Outreach Program to include training that addresses the  
            specific needs of homeless youth and former homeless youth, as  
            defined.



          3)Adds pupils who are homeless youth or former homeless youth,  
            as defined, to permissible uses of funds apportioned by the  
            Student Aid Commission to support projects to increase the  
            accessibility of postsecondary education for certain  
            elementary and secondary school pupils, as specified.



          4)Extends California Community College fee waivers to students  
            who are homeless youth, or former homeless youth, at the time  
            of enrollment and who meet specified minimum academic and  
            progress standards.





          EXISTING LAW:  





          1)Establishes in federal law the McKinney-Vento Homeless  
            Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 to ensure  
            educational rights and protections for youth experiencing  
            homelessness.  (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.)











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          2)Defines in federal law "homeless children and youth" to mean  
            individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime  
            residence, as specified, including children and youth who are:



             a)   Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of  
               housing, economic hardship, or similar reason;



             b)   Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping  
               grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate  
               accommodations;



             c)   Living in emergency or transitional shelters;



             d)   Abandoned in hospitals;



             e)   Awaiting foster care placement;



             f)   Inhabiting a primary nighttime residence that is a  
               public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used  
               as a regular sleeping accommodation, as specified;



             g)   Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned  
               buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or  
               similar settings; and









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             h)   Migratory, as defined, and who otherwise qualify as  
               homeless per this definition.  


             (42 U.S.C. 11434(a)(2))



          3)Requires each CSU and CCD, and requests the UC, with respect  
            to each campus that administers a priority enrollment system  
            to grant priority in that system to current or former members  
            of the military, and foster youth and former foster youth, as  
            specified.  Repeals this requirement as it relates to foster  
            youth and former foster youth on January 1, 2017.  (EDC  
            66025.8 and 66025.9)



          4)Establishes the Community College Student Financial Aid  
            Outreach Program and requires the Student Aid Commission to  
            develop and administer this program for the purpose of  
            providing financial aid training to high school and community  
            college counselors and advisors, as specified.  Further  
            requires the program to:



             a)   Include training to address the specific needs of  
               community college students intending to transfer to a  
               four-year institution of higher education, foster youth,  
               and students with disabilities;



             b)   Provide specialized information on financial aid  
               opportunities available to community college students, as  
               specified; and










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             c)   Concentrate its efforts on high schools and community  
               colleges that are located in geographic areas with a high  
               percentage of low-income families.  (EDC 69514.5)



          5)Permits the Student Aid Commission to, via the Student  
            Opportunity and Access Program, apportion funds on a progress  
            payment schedule for the support of projects designed to  
            increase the accessibility of postsecondary educational  
            opportunities for any elementary and secondary school pupils  
            who are:  from low-income families, will be the first in their  
            families to attend college, or are from schools or geographic  
            regions with documented low eligibility or college  
            participation rates.  (EDC 69561)



          6)Requires the governing board of each CCD to charge each  
            student a fee of $46 per unit per semester, as specified, and  
            further requires this fee to be waived for certain students  
            who both meet minimum academic and progress standards and who  
            meet other criteria, as specified.  (EDC 76300)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown





          COMMENTS:  





          Homeless children and youth:  The federal McKinney-Vento  
          Homeless Assistance Act of 2001 defines homeless children and  








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          youths as individuals who "lack a fixed, regular, and adequate  
          nighttime residence," to include children and youths who: have  
          to share housing with others due to loss of housing or economic  
          hardship; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp  
          grounds because they lack other accommodations; are living in  
          emergency or transitional shelters; are awaiting foster  
          placement; or have a primary nighttime residence that is not  
          designed as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.





          Over 520,000 children in the state were estimated to be homeless  
          in 2012-13, prompting the National Center on Family Homelessness  
          at American Institutes for Research to rank California the 48th  
          worst in the nation with regard to the extent of child  
          homelessness (adjusted for state population).  According to the  
          author, in the 2012-13 school year, there were 18,000 homeless  
          students in the 12th grade, yet only 10,208 college students in  
          total indicated a status of being homeless and unaccompanied.





          Supports for college students:  A number of programs and  
          provisions exist to help various populations of students, and  
          potential students, who may face multiple barriers to achieving  
          a post-secondary education gain access to that education.  These  
          programs include, but are not limited to:





          a)Priority enrollment allowing certain students to register for  
            classes prior to the general student body:  each CSU and CCD  
            that administers a priority enrollment system must grant  








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            priority to current or former members of the military, as well  
            as foster youth and former foster youth.  UC campuses are  
            encouraged to do likewise.  Additionally, each CCD campus that  
            administers a priority enrollment system must also grant  
            priority to CalWORKs recipients and to students in the  
            Community College Extended Opportunity Programs and Services  
            program, which serves to further the enrollment, retention and  
            transfer of students facing barriers created by language,  
            social, economic, and educational disadvantages;



          b)Community College Student Financial Aid Outreach Program:   
            this program provides financial aid training to high school  
            and community college counselors and advisors, and includes  
            training to address the specific needs of certain populations  
            of students, including but not limited to foster youth and  
            students with disabilities;



          c)Student Opportunity and Access Program:  this program supports  
            projects throughout the state that are designed to increase  
            the accessibility of postsecondary education for students who  
            are from low-income families, will be the first in their  
            families to attend college, or are from schools or areas where  
            with significant rates of low college eligibility and  
            participation; and



          d)Community college fee waivers:  current tuition at California  
            Community Colleges for state residents is $46 per unit.  This  
            fee is waived for certain students who are meeting minimum  
            academic and progress standards and who meet other criteria,  
            including but not limited to those who meet income eligibility  
            requirements, demonstrate financial need, or receive benefits  
            from the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental  
            Payment (SSI/SSP) program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy  








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            Families (TANF) program, or a general assistance program.  



          Need for this bill:  Obtaining a college education can have  
          significant impacts on an individual's earnings and economic  
          wellbeing.  U.S. Census Bureau data from 2013 on the poverty  
          status of Californians ages 25 and older indicate that over 25%  
          of individuals with less than a high school degree were living  
          below the federal poverty level.  For those with a high school  
          degree or equivalent, 15% were living below the poverty level.   
          This rate fell to about 10% for individuals who had attended  
          some college or obtained an associate's degree.  Those with a  
          bachelor's degree or higher faced the lowest rate of poverty, at  
          just over 5%.  For homeless youth, support in overcoming  
          barriers to higher education may be particularly impactful on  
          their futures, offering opportunities to achieve economic  
          mobility.  





          According to the author, "Homeless youth lack the resources and  
          support that many college students enjoy.  Often for homeless  
          youth, completing high school can be a challenge and gaining  
          college admittance an even bigger hurdle.  Homeless youth  
          navigating the college admission process and getting their  
          degrees face hurdles that other students do not:  housing in  
          between school sessions, transportation, financial support, etc.  
           While there are currently some government programs that are  
          designed to help people with the same impediments, many homeless  
          youth are not aware of them or don't pursue them because they  
          believe they lack the necessary documents (parent's income,  
          proof of residency, etc.).  Homeless youth need support to get  
          into and stay in college, they should be allowed to access some  
          of the assistance given to foster youth.  [This bill] will  
          implement policies that will directly help homeless youth  
          succeed in higher education.  The bill will provide homeless  








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          students with the tools to access more financial assistance and  
          help them get into college."





           SECOND COMMITTEE OF REFERENCE  .  This bill was previously heard  
          in the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, on April 21, 2015  
          and was approved on an 11-2 vote.



          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          None on file.




          Opposition


          None on file.




          Analysis Prepared by:Daphne Hunt / HUM. S. / (916) 319-2089












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