Congress Introduces Legislation to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility, Secretary DeVos Speaks at Second Chance Pell Pilot

This week, legislation was introduced in Congress to expand Pell Grant eligibility to short term programs and to high school students. Read below to learn more about these bills, Secretary DeVos’s remarks on Second Chance Pell, ESSA guidance, the 2019 Presidential CTE Scholars and apprenticeship updates from the Department of Labor. 

Congresses Introduces Legislation to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility 

Today the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, H.R. 3497, was introduced in the House by Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Steven Horsford (D-NV) and John Katko (R-NY). The JOBS Act was introduced in the Senate (S.839) this past March by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH). This legislation would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short-term postsecondary programs. Eligible short-term programs would have to be at least 150 clock hours over at least eight weeks, meet local or regional labor market needs, articulate to institutional credit and provide students with a recognized postsecondary license, certification or credential.

Additionally, over the course of this month the Go to High School, Go to College Act was proposed in both chambers of Congress. In the House, H.R. 3268 was introduced by Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY). A companion bill, S. 1888, was then introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA). The bill would authorize a new pilot program to evaluate the impact of expanding Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment and early high school college programs. 250 institutions of higher education would be able to participate in the pilot, and students would be able to earn up to two semesters of college credit in high school before taking out of the 12 semester Pell limit. A summary of the bill can be found here

Secretary DeVos Delivers Remarks at Second Chance Pell Commencement

On June 25, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered commencement remarks to students in the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy, Oklahoma who completed Tulsa Community College’s Second Chance Pell pilot. In her speech, Secretary DeVos shared her intent for the Second Chance Pell experimental site pilot to become a permanent program. 

Advance CTE supports expanding Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated individuals, and lifting this ban is one of the organization’s priorities in reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  

Secretary DeVos Releases Final “Supplement not Supplant” Guidance

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released final non-regulatory guidance on the supplement not supplant requirement under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) following the 30-day public comment period. In a press release, Secretary DeVos stated that “This proposal does not change the legal obligations school districts have to make appropriate investments in education. It simply makes clear that a school district has significant flexibility in how it demonstrates compliance with the law.” To follow this new guidance, school districts need to demonstrate that a school’s Title I status was not considered when designating state and local resources to each school. 

2019 U.S. Presidential CTE Scholars Visit Washington, DC

Following the May announcement of the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars, the group was celebrated by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House this week during a ceremony in which each received a Presidential Scholar Medallion. In 2019, 161 students were selected out of the 5,200 candidates. Each year, 20 CTE students are selected from the pool of applicants, and this year’s Presidential CTE Scholars come from Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin. This program originated about 60 years ago, and expanded in 2015 to include exceptional CTE students. 

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Apprenticeship Program Updates

On June 24, the U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule on Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). This proposal outlines the requirements for entities such as trade, industry groups and employer groups, educational institutions, state and local governments, non-profit organizations and unions to be recognized as a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE). This is significant because the SRE would set the standards for high quality IRAPs and monitor for compliance. 

The Department also announced the Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant. Funding will be awarded to private-public apprenticeship partnerships in the information technology, advanced manufacturing and healthcare sectors. More than 85,000 apprentices will be the recipients of this grant through participation in newly-formed or expanded existing apprenticeship programs. Twenty-three academic institutions and the corresponding industry partner will be awarded this grant across Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

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