Expand financial aid to part-time, non-credit students seeking job skills faculty and students told U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a town hall meeting at Tallahassee Community College last week, reports Community College Times.
President Obama wants two-year colleges to help train an additional two million Americans for jobs.
”I can’t overstate how important the role community colleges are going to play, helping our country get back to where we want to go,” Duncan said.
Many students in adult education and non-credit training programs don’t qualify for financial aid and scholarships, despite their need, said Kristina Pereira, an adult education specialist at TCC.
People seeking short-term job training should be eligible for aid, TCC President Jim Murdaugh told Community College Times. For example, a TCC student was enable to enroll in a certificate course that would have lead to a good job because he didn’t have the $500 fee and didn’t qualify for student aid, Murdaugh said.
“There is no mechanism to provide any help to these folks,” Murdaugh said, noting that current rules on federal student aid eligibility “disadvantage” part-time and non-credit students enrolled in courses that can usually be completed in 90 days with jobs waiting for them. Eligibility requirement should factor in programs that successfully lead to employment.
“That should be the litmus test for success,” Murdaugh said.
Many laid-off workers seek short-term training to get back into the job market quickly.