HUD Awards $2.5M to Help Youth Living in Public Housing Continue Education

To help low-income youth and their families apply for federal student aid for college and other post-secondary educational opportunities, HUD recently awarded approximately $2.5 million to nine public housing authorities (PHAs) to hire "Education Navigators" to guide them through the application process.

The Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) for Education Program, also known as Project SOAR (Students + Opportunities + Achievements = Results), is a new demonstration program that provides grant funding to PHAs to deploy education navigators to help public housing youth ages 15-20 and their families apply for the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as assist with financial literacy and college readiness, post-secondary program applications, and post-acceptance assistance.

"Achieving the dream of a college education is becoming more of a reality for hundreds of students living in HUD-assisted housing," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "This is an investment in our young people by putting them on a path to a college degree and creating greater opportunity to more prosperous lives."

Increased access to higher education can significantly improve life outcomes. The Department of Education estimates that those who earn a bachelor's degree earn two-thirds more than those with only a high school diploma or an average of $1 million more in lifetime earnings. In addition, college graduates are far less likely to face unemployment. It's also estimated that within the next four years, two-thirds of all new full-time jobs will require a college education.

ROSS for Education is one of several HUD initiatives to increase access to federal financial aid for HUD-assisted families and students.