Postsecondary education and credentials are key to economic mobility for individuals and economic competitiveness for our nation. Yet too many low-income adults and disadvantaged youth are locked out of the opportunity to earn credentials and are falling further and further behind. The Center advocates for better policies, more investment, and increased political will to address this national challenge. Learn more »

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Policy Areas for Action

Reengineer Education and Skill Development Systems: Federal, state, and local policies can help increase opportunity for low-income adults and disadvantaged youth by connecting education and training systems and funding innovative education and training strategies. Learn More »
Expand Student Financing and Supports: The nation needs robust student financing policies and student support services to ensure more low-income adults and disadvantaged youth complete postsecondary credentials. Learn More »
Increase Investment in Services and Capacity: States and communities can better serve more low-income youth and disadvantaged adults who seek postsecondary credentials by increasing investment in and coordination of funding for education and training. Learn More »
Strengthen Data and Accountability: Education and training systems should work together to better evaluate individual outcomes and improve services for low-income adults and disadvantaged youth. Learn More »

Feb 3, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

Strong Emphasis on Proven Education and Training Strategies in President Obama’s FY 2016 Budget

By Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success

Yesterday, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget proposal—a bold road map for crucial investments in evidence-based education, training, and support strategies that help low-income people gain skills to compete and advance in the labor market. The president’s budget proposes targeted investments that will benefit individuals with barriers to economic success.

High-Growth Sector Training and Credentialing: The budget includes a major new investment in training to help low-income people with lower skill levels earn the industry-recognized, portable, stackable credentials they need to advance economically. The proposed “High-Growth Sector Training and Credentialing” initiative would provide $16 billion over ten years to develop career pathways, provide training to an additional 200,000 people per year—doubling the current number of people trained through the workforce development system, which is funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)—and support regional partnerships to expand industry-validated credentials.

Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act: To implement the updated job training policies that Congress passed on a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote last year in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the president’s FY 2016 budget proposes $3.4 billion for the WIOA Adult, Dislocated Workers, and Youth programs—a $262 million increase over last year’s enacted levels. Important new provisions in WIOA encourage states and regions to help low-income individuals with the greatest barriers to economic success by building career pathways to advancement in growing industry sectors, as well as partnering with employers for on-the-job training, transitional jobs, and other programs that enable workers to earn while they learn. The budget also proposes lifting the ban on creating a database for WIOA performance results, allowing the Departments of Labor and Education to more accurately capture outcome data; this would simplify program evaluations while reducing the burden on states.

Pell Grants: The budget would fully fund the Pell Grant program, increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $5,915 for the 2015-16 school year. It would also make permanent the index to inflation for Pell Grants that is currently due to expire in 2017.  Additionally, the president’s budget simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by eliminating more than 25 questions related to savings, investments, net worth, and additional untaxed income. However, the Administration has also proposed to increase the current academic progress requirement of a 2.0 grade point average by an unspecified amount, hoping to speed up students’ degree completion. We are concerned that this provision would significantly limit access to Pell grants among the 30 percent of students who have less than a 2.5 GPA, as there is no evidence to suggest this policy would help students complete their degrees any faster.

Ability to Benefit: The budget restores full Pell Grant funding (up to a maximum of $5,730 in 2014-15)to those students without a high school diploma who exhibit the ability-to-benefit from federal financial aid for postsecondary education programs that are connected to eligible career pathways. Previously, these students were only entitled to the discretionary portion of the Pell Grant (a maximum of $4,860).

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