Federal Guidance and Resources to Support Completion and Success in Higher Education


The U.S. Department of Education – in collaboration with partners from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor – released a fact sheet on New Federal Guidance and Resources to Support Completion and Success in Higher Education and an accompanying federal interagency letter entitled Aligning Federal Supports and Program Delivery for College Access & Completion. The fact sheet and interagency letter seek to provide coordinated guidance on federal supports and public benefits that can help ensure college completion for low-income students, including homeless youth.

Fact sheet highlights include links to:

  • USDA guidance on how to determine food stamp income eligibility for students, including guidance on potential exemptions from student work requirements for those attending an institution of higher education through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) program
  • ED guidance on supporting unaccompanied homeless youth through FAFSA completion, and guidance on what defines an Ability to Benefit (ATB) program for students pursuing a postsecondary education without a high school degree
  • A memo from HHS on how Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs can support recipients’ postsecondary completion through career pathways opportunities
  • Information from HHS on resources available to help college students find and afford high-quality child care
  • Updated guidance from HUD to clarify which students aged 18-24 qualify for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance
  • A Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Program Letter that encourages policies and strategies that support Unemployment Insurance beneficiaries seeking postsecondary education and training
  • Information from the Department of the Treasury on opportunities to improve postsecondary students’ financial literacy and well-being, including efforts to help eligible families claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit

The fact sheet is available for viewing at http://www.ed.gov/category/keyword/resources-support-completion.

The federal interagency letter publishes the latest guidance and resources that clarify how existing provisions within federal programs can be better aligned for postsecondary access and completion. The letter provides an annotated list by federal agency of guidance and resources to help practitioners understand the full array of supports available to low-income college students.

The letter is available for downloading at http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/federal-supports-college-access-completion.pdf.