BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:              AB 801             
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          |Author:    |Bloom                                                |
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          |Version:   |June 1, 2015                                Hearing  |
          |           |Date:     July 8, 2015                               |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Kathleen Chavira                                     |
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          Subject:  Postsecondary education:  Success for Homeless Youth  
          in Higher Education Act

            SUMMARY
          
          This bill requires the extension of priority enrollment, as  
          specified, to homeless youth or former homeless youth at the  
          California Community Colleges (CCC) and the California State  
          University (CSU) and requests that the University of California  
          (UC) make this same extension, requires designation of a   
          Homeless and Foster Student Liaison at each Cal Grant  
          participating institution, grants homeless youth enrolling in a  
          public higher education institution residency status, as  
          specified,  requires the waiver of per unit fees for a homeless  
          youth or former homeless youth at the community colleges and  
          adds homeless youth to the categories of youth to be served  
          under existing financial aid programs and services. 

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing federal law:

          1)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  








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            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 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 United States Code   
            11301, et seq.)

          2)Defines "homeless youth", under Section 725 of the federal  
            McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act; to mean a person who  
            is 24 years of 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.

          Existing state law:

          1)Requires, until January 1, 2017, the California State  
            University (CSU) and each community college district and  
            requests each campus of the University of California (UC) that  
            administers a priority enrollment system, to grant priority  
            registration for enrollment of current or former foster youth.  
             (Education Code  66025.9)

          2)Establishes the Community College Student Financial Aid  
            Outreach Program, administered by the California Student Aid  
            Commission (CSAC) to provide financial aid training to high  
            school and community college counselors and advisors who work  
            with students planning to attend or attending a California  
            Community College (CCC).  The training is required to address  
            the specific needs of CCC students intending to transfer to a  
            four-year institution, foster youth, and students with  








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            disabilities.  
            (EC  69514.5)

          3)Establishes the Student Opportunity and Access Program,  
            administered and supported by CSAC, to apportion funds, as  
            specified for projects designed to increase the accessibility  
            of postsecondary educational opportunities for elementary and  
            secondary school pupils who are from low-income families, who  
            would be the first in their families to attend college, and  
            who are from schools or geographic regions with documented  
            low-eligibility or college participation rates. 
            (EC  69561)

          4)Requires a community college governing board to charge each  
            student a $46 per unit fee per semester. Existing law makes  
            this fee requirement inapplicable to noncredit courses and  
            specified student groups and authorizes the governing board to  
            exempt certain student groups from this fee.  Existing law  
            specifically requires that these fees be waived for students  
            who, at the time of enrollment meet specified requirements,  
            including, that they are members of the military, veterans or  
            their dependents, as specified, receive benefits under the  
            Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the  
            Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment  
            Program, or a general assistance program, demonstrate  
            eligibility according to income standards established by  
            regulations of the CCC Board of Governors, 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, 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 and various others, as specified.  (EC  76300)

            












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          ANALYSIS
          
          This bill:

       1)Requires the California State University (CSU) and each  
            California Community College (CCC), and requests each UC  
            campus that administers a priority enrollment system, to  
            extend priority enrollment to current or former homeless  
            youth.

       2)Defines "homeless" and  "homeless youth" as having the same  
            meaning as defined in Section 725 of the federal  
            McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (see background).

       3)Requires a qualifying postsecondary educational institution, as  
            defined for purposes of the Cal Grant program, to both:

               a)        Designate an existing staff member within the  
               financial aid office, or another appropriate office or  
               department of the institution to serve as the Homeless and  
               Foster Student Liaison who is required to be responsible  
               for understanding the federal Higher Education provisions  
               on financial aid eligibility applicable to foster youth and  
               homeless youth, as specified and to assist these students  
               in applying for and receiving federal and state financial  
               aid and services. 

               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)Request the UC Regents adopt policies, to the extent feasible,  
            equivalent to the provisions outlined in (3).

       5)Requires that a student that has been determined to be homeless,  
            as defined, at any time during the two years immediately  
            preceding residency classification be entitled to resident  
            classification until he/she has resided in the state the  
            minimum time necessary to establish residency if :

               a)        The student currently resides in California.








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               b)        The student is 19 years of age or under at the  
               time of enrollment in a public higher education  
               institution.
           
       6)Expands the training requirements for high school and community  
            college counselors and advisors under the Community College  
            Student Financial Aid Outreach Program to include training on  
            the specific needs of current and former homeless youth, as  
            defined.

       7)Adds homeless youth and former homeless youth, as defined, to the  
            student groups that may be served under Student Opportunity  
            and Access Program projects administered and supported by the  
            California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).

       8)Expands the list of students whose fees are required to be waived  
            by a community college governing board to include any student  
            who is a current or former homeless youth, as defined, at the  
            time of enrollment.

       9)Makes other clarifying, technical, and conforming changes.

          STAFF COMMENTS
          
       1)Need for the bill.  This bill would allow homeless youth to  
            receive some of the same services and exemptions that are  
            available to foster youth.  While many services exist for  
            foster youth and former foster youth, homeless youth are often  
            not documented in the child welfare system or legally  
            identified as dependents, so most are either unable to utilize  
            these benefits or unaware of programs for which they may  
            qualify. According to the author, in the 2012-13 school year  
            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. 


       2)Homeless youth.  According to a September 2014 publication by the  
            California Homeless Youth Project, California's Homeless  
            Students, a Growing Population, California has the highest  
            rate of homeless youth in the nation and twice the rate of  
            homeless students as the national average (4 percent in  








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            California versus 2 percent nationally).  In its 2013 Annual  
            Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, the U.S. Department of  
            Housing and Urban Development reports an estimated 46,924  
            homeless youths nationally on a single night in January, with  
            80 percent of these individuals between the ages of 18-24.  
          
       3)Other potential services for homeless youth?  SB 1023 (Liu,  
            Chapter 771, Statutes of 2014) authorized the California  
            Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellors Office (CCCCO) to enter  
            into agreements with up to 10 CCC districts to establish the  
            Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support program  
            in order to provide additional funds for services in support  
            of postsecondary education for foster youth.  The 2015-16  
            Budget Act provides up to $15 million for this purpose. Should  
            this program be expanded to include homeless youth and former  
            homeless youth? 

            SUPPORT
          
          Aspiranet
          Bill Wilson Center
          California Coalition for Youth
          California Federation of Teachers
          Campaign for College Opportunity
          Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
          County Welfare Directors Association of California
          Echoes of Hope
          Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership
          Junior League of Orange County
          University of California

            OPPOSITION
           
           None received. 

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