BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 801 (Bloom) - Postsecondary education:  Success for Homeless  
          Youth in Higher Education Act
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          |Version: June 1, 2015           |Policy Vote: ED. 7 - 0          |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: August 17, 2015   |Consultant: Jillian Kissee      |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Summary:  This bill, among other things: (1) requires the  
          extension of priority enrollment 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; (2)  
          requires designation of a  Homeless and Foster Student Liaison,  
          as specified; (3) requires the waiver of per unit fees for this  
          population at the community colleges; (4) establishes residency  
          status for this population, as specified; and (5) includes these  
          students in the California Student Aid Commission's (CSAC)  
          training and outreach programs. 

           The CCC anticipates one-time costs of $11.3 million and  
            ongoing costs of up to about $8.3 million.  Activities  
            include: modifications to electronic systems to make changes  


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            in financial aid calculations and modifications to residency  
            verification processes.  These costs may be determined to be  
            reimbursable as a state mandate.  (Proposition 98)

           The CSU indicates the need redirect staff to fulfill the  
            liaison requirement which would likely equate to a part-time  
            position for each campus, resulting in statewide costs between  
            $782,000 and $1.2 million.  (General Fund)

           The CSAC indicates costs to incorporate homeless youth into  
            training and outreach programs to be absorbable.  However, if  
            this population is larger than anticipated, there could be a  
            need for additional staffing resources.

           The UC anticipates no additional costs to implement this bill.

          Background:  Federal law defines the term "homeless children and youth" to  
          mean individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate  
          nighttime residence, as specified.  (42 United States Code   
          11301, et seq.)

          Federal law 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 various entities, as specified.

          State law also requires a community college governing board to  
          charge each student a $46 per unit fee per semester.  Existing  
          law makes this fee requirement not apply to noncredit courses  
          and specified student groups, and authorizes the governing board  
          to exempt certain student groups from this fee.  (EC  76300)

          Proposed Law:  
            This bill requires the CSU and each community college  
          district, and requests the UC, to afford current and former  
          homeless youth certain enrollment and financial assistance and  
          guidance benefits for postsecondary education.  This bill's  
          requirements become inoperable on January 1, 2020.


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          Specifically, this bill requires, and requests the UC, to grant  
          enrollment priority registration to a homeless or former  
          homeless youth for campuses that administers a priority  
          enrollment system.  Current law provides this benefit to foster  

          Postsecondary educational institutions that qualify for Cal  
          Grants are required to do the following:

           Designate a staff member to serve as the Homeless and Foster  
            Student Liaison.  The liaison is required to understand  
            federal law relating to financial aid eligibility of current  
            and former foster and homeless youth; identify available and  
            appropriate services for these students; and assist them in  
            applying for and receiving federal and state financial aid and  
            available services.

           Inform current and prospective students about student  
            financial aid and other assistance available to current and  
            former homeless and foster youth, including their eligibility  
            as independent students, pursuant to federal law.

          This bill also:

           Requires a student to be entitled to resident classification  
            if the student has been determined to be homeless at any time  
            during the two years immediately preceding the residency  
            classification determination if the student currently lives in  
            California and is 19 years old or under at the time of  

           Expands training requirements for high school and community  
            college counselors and advisors under the Community College  
            Student Financial Aid Outreach Program to include training to  
            address the needs of homeless and former homeless youth.

           Adds homeless youth and former homeless youth to the student  


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            groups that may be served under the CSAC's Student Opportunity  
            and Access Program which apportions funds for projects  
            designed to expand access to postsecondary educational  
            opportunities for certain disadvantaged students. 

           Expands the list of students whose fees are required to be  
            waived by a community college governing board to include a  
            current or former homeless youth.

          Staff Comments:  Most homeless students are likely to be exempt  
          from community colleges fees through established income  
          standards.  Therefore any associated costs are anticipated to be  

          Substantial costs identified by the CCC appear to be driven by  
          the definition of former homeless youth which applies to those  
          who had been identified as homeless in the preceding six years.   
          This definition conflicts with their eligibility as independent  
          students for financial aid purposes.  For the 2015-16 Free  
          Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), independent status  
          was allowed for homeless individuals at any time on or after  
          July 1, 2014 (one year).  As an independent student, students  
          report their own information on the FAFSA, whereas dependent  
          students report their parent's information.  

          This conflict would likely require colleges to process state aid  
          using a different standard than that used by the federal  
          government for financial aid purposes and modify their  
          electronic records processing systems to calculate state aid.   
          There are also costs attributed to changing the fee waiver  
          processing system, which is largely automated by student FAFSA  
          filing, but this work would likely be incorporated with other  
          electronic system changes.

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