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Thirty-one Groups Sign Letter Opposing ''Ability to Benefit'' Elimination


June 6, 2012


Thirty-one Groups Sign Letter Opposing ''Ability to Benefit'' Elimination

As of July 1, newly enrolled students without a high school diploma, or its equivalent, who demonstrate college readiness, will lose access to all federal financial aid.

On June 4, thirty-one education and workforce training groups, including ACTE, sent a letter to Senator Harkin (D-IA) concerning the elimination of “Ability to Benefit” provisions in the Higher Education Act. Currently, students without a high school diploma or GED are able to take a test to determine college readiness. If a student passes the test, then the student becomes eligible to receive federal financial aid to complete a course of study.  Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, the funding for this financial aid was eliminated.

While the number of students benefiting from this financial aid is small, they are growing at an increasing rate. Also, recent studies have shown that these students are outperforming similar students in credits and certificates earned.

As the federal government continues to look for ways to save dollars and boost the economy, it is important to remember that as our population continues to age and retire from the workforce, we will become increasingly reliant on all populations to pick up those jobs and to keep the economy moving. We should be focused on developing a highly skilled and educated workforce, not cutting education funding for those who need it the most.

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