Financing Education for Adult Learners Radha Roy Biswas Kentucky Adult Learners Summit February 5, 2008
Research Brief Where’s the Money? State Policy Innovations in Financing Higher Education for Workers Who Study (Forthcoming) By Radha Roy Biswas, Victoria Choitz, Heath Prince Jobs for the Future
Overview • The need for FA policies for adult learners • Characteristics of adult learners • Federal and state financial aid policy context • Financial aid barriers for workers who study • How existing and emerging state policies address them • Focus on grant based programs • Sample not compendium • Observations, examples • Recommendations
The Need Why this is important: • Over 60% of adult working age population had no postsecondary education credential in 2004. • 9 million future jobs to be created by 2014 in US will require some level of postsecondary education. • Millions of adults need some postsecondary credentials to succeed economically. • States need skilled workers to compete economically.
Adults in Post-Secondary Institutions • Adult learners over ages 24 comprise about 44 percent of U.S. postsecondary students Students in community colleges: • 90% = “non-traditional” • 75% have two or more of these characteristics: • Attend part time • Work full time • Financially independent • Have dependents • That is, they are workers who study, not students who work.
The Financial Aid Policy Context • Federal funding of financial aid has lagged demand. • States have increased tuition rates and other charges in response to budget deficits. • Individuals are assuming an ever greater share of ever increasing cost of education. Nearly 37 million more adults are interested in post secondary but unable to participate.
The Financial Aid Policy Context • Main sources of government grant based financial aid: • Federal Pell Grants • State Grant Aid programs • Institutional aid • State policies follow federal formula and guidelines for eligibility and award calculation.
Financial Aid Barriers for Workers Who Study Policies rooted in serving traditional students: • Fund credit-bearing programs leading to a degree. • Favor traditional enrollment patterns. • Geared to very low-income students (outdated income thresholds). • Favor dependent students over independent students. • State aid usually covers tuition and fees, not other related expenses. • Students must make “satisfactory progress”. • Require HS diploma or GED* (BT population).
While Workers Who Study... • Typically, • Attend less than half-time. • Are often enrolled in non-credit courses, ABE, or remedial education (esp. BT population). • Need help with indirect expenses. • Are financially independent, with or without dependents. • Often don’t meet income thresholds, but cannot afford college either.
Observations • States have revisited and framed new policies to meet economic development needs. • Federal policy has recently improved to accommodate workers who study. States policies will reflect those changes. • States are addressing one or more but not all barriers.* • State actions show a range.*
Recommendations • Frame financial aid within economic development context to target resources. • State and institutional aid programs must fill gaps in federal student aid, not follow it. • Partnership between federal government and states to test innovative approaches. • Create stronger awareness and advocacy efforts to target aid for workers who study.
Financing Higher Education for Workers Who Study Thank You Contact: Radha Roy Biswas Jobs for the Future Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.jff.org