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Ruthie Liberman, Vice President of Public Policy Crittenton Women’s Union 617) 259-2933 PowerPoint Presentation
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Financing Higher Education for Adult Learners March 18, 2010. Ruthie Liberman, Vice President of Public Policy Crittenton Women’s Union 617) 259-2933 The WorkforceSolutions Group. Mass Public Higher Ed – who can afford it?.

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Financing Higher Education for Adult Learners

March 18, 2010

Ruthie Liberman, Vice President of Public Policy

Crittenton Women’s Union

617) 259-2933

The WorkforceSolutions Group

mass public higher ed who can afford it
Mass Public Higher Ed – who can afford it?
  • Mass ranks 44 out of 50 for affordable tuition & fees for 4-year public colleges; 38th for 2-year colleges
  • Mass ranks 32 of 50 states in total grant dollars per population age 18-24
  • 1988-2008 Mass Grant funding declined by 53%
isn t community practically free
Isn’t Community Practically Free?

Earners in lowest 20% income bracket must pay 63% of income for net cost of community college

workers who study additional challenges
Workers who study – additional challenges
  • Top reason for dropping out of college – too hard to work and go to school at same time >50% college drop-outs have incomes < $35,000.
  • Fed & State financial aid formulas designed for traditional students
  • Most grant and federal loans favor those who study half-time or more
more financial aid shortfalls for adult learners
More Financial Aid Shortfalls for adult learners
  • Most aid restricted to credit-bearing or degree programs (not certificate programs)
  • Pell Grant is capped at 18 semesters
  • Mass Grant not available to those less than part-time
  • Neither Pell nor Mass Grant can be used for living expenses.
  • Most low-income students have unmet needs after Pell and Mass Grant
educational rewards grant
Educational Rewards Grant
  • Created in 2006 to aid low-income students, especially part-time students, seeking education leading to jobs in high-demand occupations
  • $1.5M allocation is now expended. No grants awarded next academic year without a new appropriation
  • Unlike other grants up to 30% may be used for living expenses such as transportation and childcare
  • Students receive between $200 and $3000 for high-demand fields including healthcare, engineering, computer specialists, construction/production; life science technician; administrative support; and personal care and service (for a full list see
  • Grants can be used for tuition, fees, and books for degree and certificate programs
who do the grants serve
Who do the grants serve?
  • Dislocated workers or individuals whose income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level
  • 666 students received the grant over the since fall 2007
  • 86% were female
    • Applicants studied 47 different majors at more than 45 MA institutions (mostly for-profit vocational schools)
    • 70% of the grants were awarded in health professions (medical assistant, nursing, LPN, radiology technician, dental assistant, etc.)
    • Nearly 80% of recipients used the grant for a certificate program
future improvements to erg
Future Improvements to ERG
  • Worker’s Pathways to SS calls for Supports for Success Pilot
    • $1.5M pilot to offset the costs to community college of providing intensive supports to ERG recipients.
    • Supports include intensive advising and counseling, college and career success courses, private work study opportunities, child care and transportation, case management.
  • Limit grant to public higher education
    • 71% grants awarded to students at for-profit vocational schools
  • Raise income limit above 200% FPL
wa state opportunity grant
WA State Opportunity Grant
  • The Opportunity Grant program created in 2006 assists low-income students enroll in college for training in high-wage, high-demand career pathways (jobs with minimum wage of $13.00). Goal is to reach tipping point & beyond
  • Available at 34 WA State community and technical colleges or 8 approved private career colleges
  • Students receive funds for tuition and fees and up to $1,000 additional for books, supplies, or tools for up to 45 credits
  • Colleges are awarded $1,500 per grant recipient to promote student success. Most colleges hire a Opportunity Grant Coordinator to coordinate services such as student success classes, tutoring, counseling, retention strategies, and emergency childcare, transportation, and other emergent student costs.
opportunity grant outcomes
Opportunity Grant Outcomes
  • OG recipients had a higher retention/completion rate of 81% as compared to 73% of all Pell grant recipients enrolled in same programs
  • Even bigger gap between OG and those with no aid
pell grants
Pell Grants
  • Largest federal needs based program
  • Foundation for financial aid packages
  • ARRA provided good increases

Pre-ARRA 2008-2009=$4,731


2010-2011= $5,555

  • Obama proposes 2011-2012=$5,710 & move appropriation to mandatory side of budget
safra american graduation initiative
SAFRA/American Graduation Initiative
  • Ends the federal subsidies of private loans and shifts all student loans to the Federal Direct Loan program. Savings estimated at $87B over 10 years would be applied to broad range of programs and policies, including:
    • Pell grant and Perkins loans program increases
    • Significant new funds for community college success initiatives
    • Early childhood education
    • School infrastructure   
  • Pell grant maximum awards would be increased and tied to the Consumer price index  
  • May be taken up in same budget reconciliation bill as health care reform. Intense opposition from lending industry may significantly weaken or kill the measure.