A pair of bills signed into law today will help track and provide services to homeless students and will explore ways to strengthen the College Bound Scholarship Program.

“All students, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances, deserve the chance to make the most of themselves educationally,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, the sponsor of both measures. “What’s more, the health of our communities depends on it.”

Frockt’s bills help students on two fronts.

Senate Bill 6074 requires the state Office of the Superintendent of Instruction to track and provide data on the number of homeless students in public schools, the number of students participating in several learning programs, and the performance of homeless students across a wide range of measures. Frockt worked with Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, and the University of Washington Legislative Law Clinic to pass this legislation to track outcomes for homeless students for the first time.

“If we’re going to identify ways to remove obstacles to student success, particularly for homeless students, the first step is to identify where they succeed and where they fall short,” Frockt said. “Once we know what to target, we can focus our programs to address the problem areas.”

SB 6436 creates a work group to develop recommendations on how best to maintain and strengthen the state’s College Bound Scholarship Program, which provides tuition and other aid to impoverished students who satisfy a range of performance criteria. Though the program has been an unquestioned success, the magnitude of that success has posed a challenge as thousands of students have signed up; the task for lawmakers now is to find ways to ensure the program can keep up with the demand.

“For many promising kids, College Bound can be a means of closing the achievement gap,” Frockt said. “It’s one of the best investments we make in terms of the educational impact it has for low-income students.”