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House Committee Discusses Postsecondary Opportunities

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February 3, 2014

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House Committee Discusses Postsecondary Opportunities

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Workforce held a hearing on January 28 titled “Keeping College Within Reach: Sharing Best Practices for Serving Low Income and First Generation Students.

Testifying before the committee were three faculty members from four-year postsecondary institutions and a graduate student who described the various best practices they have witnessed or participated in:

  • Dr. James Anderson,  Chancellor, Fayetteville State University
  • Mrs. Mary Del Blazo, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, College of Westchester
  • Rev.  Dennis H. Holtschneider , President, DePaul University
  • Mr. Josse Alex Garrido, graduate student, University of Texas

Among the best practices discussed by the witnesses during the hearing were programs such as Gear Up, student mentoring and reforms to remedial courses. Additionally, all three postsecondary administrator witnesses agreed that simplifying Pell grants and student loans would be beneficial to college access for incoming and current students.

Receiving little attention during the discussion though was the role alternative pathways in postsecondary education can play in creating opportunities for low-income and first generation students, including short-term training at less than two- year institutions and low-cost dual enrollment opportunities for high school students.  Mrs. Del Blazo briefly discussed her institution’s working adult population, but little information was provided beyond a brief prior learning program where credits from other colleges, certificates, or military experience could be transferred. While Dr. Anderson briefly mentioned an early college high school program that Fayetteville State operates in partnership with a local high school, it was the only institution present that discussed offering such a program.

Archived video of the hearing and all witness testimony is available on the committee’s website.

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