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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Nov 17, 2015.
Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act
This bill amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to revise provisions related to financial aid and educational programs for children and youths who are homeless or in foster care.
With respect to a student's independence for purposes of financial aid, a financial aid administrator must: (1) in the absence of conflicting information, accept a homelessness determination made by an authorized individual; and (2) make such a determination if the student cannot get documentation from a designated authority. A student who is determined to be independent on this basis shall generally be presumed to be independent for a subsequent award year at the same institution.
The bill expands the duties of the Student Loan Ombudsman to include the review and resolution of complaints regarding such determinations.
To be eligible for certain federal funds, an institution must meet specified requirements related to student housing, coordination, and notice of financial assistance eligibility with respect to children and youths who are homeless or in foster care.
In approving applications for entities to carry out specified programs related to higher education, the Department of Education shall require an entity to make specified assurances with respect to the participation of children and youths who are homeless or in foster care. A federal work-study agreement must prioritize employment for such students.
For purposes of income-based financial aid determinations, the bill excludes from income: (1) the value of specified vouchers for education and training, and (2) direct payments made through an extended foster care program.
With respect to children or youths who are homeless or in foster care, a state may not charge a tuition rate that is higher than the in-state tuition rate.