Colorado lawmakers to tackle homeless teen tuition bill

Some state lawmakers want to make it easier for homeless teenagers to pay in-state tuition at Colorado colleges. Currently, those students can have a hard time proving their residency.

College applicants qualify for in-state tuition after they’ve lived in Colorado for a year. But groups that work with homeless teens say they sometimes run into trouble getting institutions to accept non-traditional proof of residency, like a letter from a caseworker.

Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, said she was surprised to learn homeless students have this problem.

"Unfortunately they’re unlikely to go to college, or less likely to go to college," Pettersen said. "If they do, we want to make sure that they have more affordable college and that we’re giving them the support that every Colorado kid should have."

Pettersen is sponsoring a bill that she hopes will streamline the process for these students to prove they are indeed Colorado residents. Her legislation is expected to be introduced in the state House this week.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Representative Pettersen's district. House District 28 is based in Jefferson County.