Homeless Students Forced To Pay More For College In Colorado, Says State Rep.

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Chart: Homelessness among Colorado students
Many students live in "doubled-up" housing, where families sharing housing with other families.

Chart: Homelessness among Colorado studentsState Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, wants to make it easier for homeless, unaccompanied and runaway students to pay for college.

Colorado state law allows students under the age of 22 -- who can provide proof of state residency through their parents or guardians for at least one year -- to pay in-state tuition rates at Colorado colleges. But homeless students are often unable to produce the necessary paperwork, and are forced to pay out-of-state tuition for at least three years.

Pettersen says the difference in cost -- which can be drastic -- is enough to deter potential students from beginning, or completing, postsecondary education. In the Legislature's next session, she plans to reintroduce a bill that she says will streamline the process for these students to prove they are Colorado residents. It failed last session.

Pettersen spoke to Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.

Click on the audio above to hear the full interview.