Higher Education: Actions Needed to Improve Access to Federal Financial Assistance for Homeless and Foster Youth: Report to the Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
United States Government Accountability Office.
Report to Congress
iii, 65 p.
Published: May 2016
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This report presents the findings of a study that examined college enrollment and completion for foster and homeless youth, the extent to which challenges these youth face affects their ability to pursue college, and the extent to which program barriers hinder these youth from obtaining federal financial assistance for college. For the study, the most recently available Education data—two enrollment data sets, for 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, and data on college completion from 2009 were analyzed; relevant federal laws and guidance were reviewed; officials from Education and HHS, as well as external groups knowledgeable about higher education, foster youth, and homelessness; and held discussion groups with foster and homeless youth were interviewed. Findings indicate child welfare caseworkers and McKinney-Vento homeless liaisons have limited expertise with college panning and federal student aid, and the U.S. Department of Education’s website has little centralized information on federal student aid and other college-related resources directed specifically to homeless and foster youth., and eligible homeless and foster youth face program barriers in accessing federal student aid and Chafee Education and Training vouchers. Recommendations are made for centralizing college information for these youth on Education’s website, clarifying Education guidance, and considering legislative proposals to simplify federal requirements for homeless and foster youth. The Department of Health and Human Services agreed with these recommendations while the Department of Education generally did not agree or disagree, but described actions it was taking in response to the recommendations. 9 figures and 84 references.
foster adolescents; homeless adolescents; postsecondary education; barriers; financial assistance; federal programs; information sources