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With springtime arriving, many high school seniors are finishing up their college applications or hearing back from schools. On average, higher education boosts people’s lifetime earnings compared to having a high school-level diploma or less. But many homeless youth living on their own apart from their families don't go to college--or even see higher education as an option.
FYSB's Acting Associate Commissioner, Debbie A. Powell, wrote about this problem this week in The Family Room, the official blog of the Administration for Children & Families. Here's what she says about the hurdles that keep homeless youth from going to college:
Those obstacles include not having the money for deposits and fees, lack of knowledge about their rights and the benefits they may be eligible for, daunting paperwork, and lack of support as they attempt to navigate the higher education system on their own. Many youth may not know that the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 expanded the definition of “independent students” eligible to apply for financial aid without a parent or guardian’s approval or financial records. Now that category includes unaccompanied homeless youth and foster youth.
Powell goes on to talk about further steps states, educators and youth-serving agencies are taking to make sure homeless youth can access a higher education.