Federal Postsecondary Policy
Postsecondary education policy needs to be modernized to support economic development and to be more in line with the realities of low-income working adults' lives and the needs of employers. CLASP works to align adult education, job training, and higher education policies to create pathways to marketable credentials that support stable employment in jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.
House Subcommittee Approves FY 2011 Education Funding to Assist Low-Income Students
By Marcie W.M. Foster and Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield
The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education recently approved a bill that is consistent with the President’s FY 2011 budget request for key education programs that can help low-income adults access and complete postsecondary education.
Although this bill is only the first step in the federal appropriations process, it sends an important message that the nation needs targeted education and training investments so more low-income students and workers can access education and training to help them gain skills needed in our recovering economy.
Most notably, the bill increased funding for Pell Grants, which more than eight million low-income students rely on each year for tuition-related expenses, by almost $5.7 billion. This increase would cover the looming funding shortfall and is necessary to ensure students continue to receive aid.
Unverified reports indicate that other student aid programs did not fare as well. Gear Up, TRIO, Federal Work-Study, and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants received flat funding or modest increases, and the bill eliminated the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) Grants program.
The subcommittee approved $1.9 billion for career and adult education, equal to the President’s budget request. According to reports, President Obama’s request for funding for the adult education portion of these funds was also matched at $612 million, which reflects a decrease of $16 million from the previous fiscal year. While this decrease is unfortunate, it’s important to note that last year’s appropriations included a one-time increase to correct for several years of federal accounting errors that prevented states from receiving the total funding that they were entitled to under the budget.
Recent findings show that, due to insufficient funding, the number of individuals on adult education waiting lists has doubled since 2008, and the problem is expected to continue until Congress increases appropriations for adult education. A recent report from the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE) found that just $160 million in additional appropriations would allow states to serve those currently on waiting lists.
The Senate is expected to markup the bill before the August recess.
- Thomas Hilliard and Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield | Mar 31, 2010 Reconciliation: Important Gains in Postsecondary Education, but Also Missed Opportunities
- Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield and Evelyn Ganzglass | Jul 20, 2009 Letter to the House Committee on Education and Labor on the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (HR 3221)
- Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield and Julie Strawn | Sep 24, 2008 Congress Expands Student Aid and Supports Innovation in Student Success, Basic Skills and Workforce Partnerships
- Amy-Ellen Duke | Feb 13, 2008 A Strong Step for Students: House Higher Education Bill Promotes Innovation and Student Success
- Amy-Ellen Duke | Dec 18, 2007 Statement Prepared for the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance; Community College Symposium
- Vickie Choitz and Patrick Reimherr | Apr 16, 2013 Mind the Gap: High Unmet Financial Need Threatens Persistence and Completion for Low-Income Community College Students
- Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Julie Strawn, and Patrick Reimherr | Apr 15, 2013 Comments on Education and Family Tax Benefits
- Allegra Baider, Vickie Choitz, Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, Marcie W.M. Foster, Linda Harris, Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Neil Ridley, Julie Strawn | Mar 25, 2013 Funding Career Pathways and Career Pathway Bridges: A Federal Policy Toolkit for States
- Patrick Reimherr, Tim Harmon, Julie Strawn, Vickie Choitz | Mar 08, 2013 Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion
- Marcie Foster | Mar 02, 2012 The Adult Education and Economic Growth Act: Toward a Modern Adult Education System and a More Educated Workforce