Act 16 was signed into law on June 28, 2019 and addresses a variety of School Code provisions.
Pennsylvania Establishes Tuition Waver for Foster Youth
Part of the many School Code revisions established in Act 16 of 2019, the Fostering Independence Through Education Act establishes a tuition and fee waiver opportunity for youth in foster care who enroll in Pennsylvania colleges and universities.
Eligible students will have graduated from high school or obtained an equivalent degree, and have been in foster care in Pennsylvania at age 16 or older. Youth who are adopted or enter a permanent legal custodianship after age 16 are eligible for the waiver so long as they meet all other eligibility requirements.
The law requires post-secondary institutions to identify a point of contact to help eligible students identify and apply for sources of financial assistance and to access campus and community resources. Colleges and Universities must also provide outreach to students to ensure they are aware of the waiver and other sources of financial aid.
The Act is designed to remove financial barriers to post-secondary education for foster youth. The waiver applies to tuition and fees that are not covered by grants or scholarships.
The waiver program will begin for the fall semester of 2020.
Other Highlights of Act 16
1. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, the compulsory school age will require enrollment no later than age 6, and continue until the child’s 18th birthday.
2. Prohibitions against “shaming” students with unpaid school meal accounts greater than $50.00 are revised to allow schools to provide alternative meals to these students.
3. School District budgets and fund balances will now be published on the PDE website.
4. Anyone who has served as a chief recovery officer or financial administrator is eligible for appointment as a superintendent or assistant superintendent.
5. The moratorium on PLANCON approvals is extended for fiscal 2019-20.
6. Establishes an “Innovation School” program to study and evaluate methods to address the needs of economically disadvantaged students.
If you have a question, contact your legal counsel or one of the education attorneys at KingSpry.
This School Law Bullet is a publication of the KingSpry Education Law Practice Group. John E. Freund is our editor. It is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal advice.