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A United Voice

The purpose of this section of PROGRESS is to raise awareness about important issues affecting adult education and provide informational talking points for workforce partner collaboration.

The National Association of State Directors of Adult Education (NASDAE)

NASDAE is a professional organization and source of information on supporting and advancing adult education. NASDAE publishes issue briefs on topical subjects of importance in adult education which give readers concise summaries describing all sides of an issue. Three recently published issue briefs are The Higher Education Act, Ability to Benefit, and Perkins V. As topics that relate directly to adult students are best communicated at the classroom and program levels, it could be helpful to read these briefs and discuss them with your workforce partners and adult students.

The Higher Education Act

“The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) authorizes numerous federal aid programs that provide support to both individuals pursuing a postsecondary education, including adult students, and institutions of higher education. Title IV of the HEA authorizes the federal government’s major student financial aid programs, which are the primary source of direct federal support to students pursuing postsecondary education.” Because low-income students have faced rising costs and other challenges since the last reauthorization of the Act in 2008, Congress can improve the law to increase students’ odds of success. As Members of Congress debate HEA reauthorization, it would be advantageous for them to focus on principles critical for the success of low-income students: affordability, racial equity, and connecting students to high-wage, high-demand jobs and careers. Read more about reauthorizing the Higher Education Act in this NASDAE issue brief.

Ability to Benefit

Ability to Benefit or ATB is a provision of the federal financial aid law that “allows low-income students without a high school credential to apply for funding to pay for postsecondary education and training.” Students must meet eligibility requirements and demonstrate a financial need. ATB provides an opportunity for students to earn a college certificate or degree, land a well-paying job, and move up economically, regardless of academic background. Read more about Ability to Benefit and how it related to adult students in this NASDAE issue brief.

Perkins V

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins V) requires a portion of each State plan relating to the amount and uses of any funds proposed to be reserved for adult career and technical education, postsecondary career and technical education, and secondary career and technical education. Given the clear connections in Perkins V and Title II of WIOA in terms of career pathways, efforts should be aligned to provide on-ramps to postsecondary education and training for adult education populations. Read more about Perkins V in this NASDAE issue brief.