Welcome to the Illinois Transitions Blog

This blog provides a platform for resources to be shared and discussions to be engaged in by anyone providing transitioning services. The content of the blog is especially applicable to those involved in the Illinois Transitions Academy.

The Transitions Academy is designed to assist colleges and partnerships working on developing Bridge and ICAPS (Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System) programs by increasing awareness of the expanding partnership between Adult Education and Career and Technical Education as it relates to the ICAPS model, Accelerating Opportunity, Illinois Bridge programs, and Illinois Programs of Study. The Transitions Academy is designed to assist colleges and partnerships working on developing Bridge and ICAPS (Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System) programs.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ability to Benefit Webinar

Webinar and Call for Questions on Ability to Benefit

Access to financial aid plays a huge role in students’ ability to access, persist in, and complete postsecondary education, especially for those students without a high school diploma or its equivalent. In December 2014, Congress partially restored the Ability to Benefit (ATB) provision of the Higher Education Act. Under this provision, otherwise-eligible students who do not have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, but who are enrolled in eligible career pathway programs, may qualify for federal financial aid. In addition to participating in an eligible career pathways program, eligible students only need to pass an approved test or successfully complete six hours of college credit. This restoration provides a great opportunity for the thousands of students who will now be able to pursue postsecondary education and training in our nation’s community and technical colleges, or four-year colleges, and attain the credentials that are necessary for careers in high-demand occupations. Now that ATB is restored for students in eligible career pathway programs, it is critical that we do everything we can to help students in these programs access these resources.

Jobs for the Future and CLASP are hosting a webinar on Monday, November 9, 2015 from 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. EDT to address these issues. In this webinar you will learn:
  • What is Ability to Benefit?
  • Who is eligible for Ability to Benefit?
  • What are the two primary ways to help your students qualify for ATB and access financial aid for college pathway programs?
  • What constitutes an “eligible” career pathway program?
  • Where to find the list of approved ATB tests for students to qualify for ATB.

Staff from the U.S. Department of Education will provide guidance on how students can qualify. In addition, state and community college officials will share examples of how Ability to Benefit is being utilized to support low-income, under-prepared students.

We are also seeking your input on the questions you would like the U.S Department of Education to provide guidance on. In order to contribute your question(s), please fill out this short survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/AbilityToBenefit. ED will review the questions in advance of the webinar and respond to as many as possible during the webinar. Please submit all questions by November 1, 2015.

For more resources from Jobs for the Future about how to help under-prepared students access and succeed in college, please check out: http://www.jff.org/publications/earning-postsecondary-credentials

For more background on Ability to Benefit, see: http://www.jff.org/initiatives/accelerating-opportunity/policy-update

  • Mark Mitsui, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Carney McCullough, Director, Policy Development Group, Office of Postsecondary Education
  • David Musser, Policy Liaison, Federal Student Aid
  • Maria Flynn, Senior Vice President, Jobs for the Future
  • Jon Kerr, Director of Adult Basic Education, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
  • Derek Ball, Financial Aid Program Coordinator, Kentucky Community and Technical College System

  • Mary Clagett, Director, National Workforce Policy, Jobs for the Future
  • Lauren E. Walizer, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, CLASP
Please be sure to register for the webinar by clicking here! Login information for the event will be sent out to registered attendees prior to the event.

If you have any questions, contact Lexie Waugh at awaugh@jff.org.

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