Thursday, May 21, 2009

AACC Withholds Consensus Over Pell Grant Draft Regulations

On May 13, AACC was one of three parties to withhold consensus on Team V of the Department of Education's (ED) Higher Education Act negotiated rulemaking panels. The panels were constituted to develop regulations to implement key sections of last August's Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL 110-315). AACC withheld consensus on the year-round Pell Grant draft regulations proposed by ED. AACC also joined with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universties (NAICU) to withheld consensus over what AACC considers regulatory over-reaching concerning the institutional reporting of job placement by a college's graduates. This reporting must be done as part of mandatory annual institutional disclosures.

The year-round Pell Grant issue is fairly complicated, but it boils down to the fact that ED maintained that before a student could get a second scheduled Pell Grant in a given award year, they had to have accumulated a year's worth of academic credits that year. In many cases this is not a problem, because a student who has not completed a year's worth of academic work usually has some of his or her first Pell Grant eligibility remaining. However, some students will have used up all of their first Pell Grant, and either because of unusual enrollment patterns or because they simply failed a course, would not be eligible for the second, "year-round," Pell Grant. The absurdity, at least to AACC, is that this same student who would be denied the second Pell Grant in the summer on this basis would be eligible for another Pell Grant in the fall. The Department said that it wants to encourage students to truly "accelerate" academically, and while we understand that perspective, we also think that acceleration could mean going to school in the summer when a student might otherwise have to delay enrollment.

Despite the fact that consensus was not reached on this negotiated rulemaking panel, AACC believes that the draft regulations were much improved by the three three-day negotiating sessions.

Distribution of $500 Million for "Green Jobs"

The Department of Labor has just made available information concerning its plans to distribute the $500 million for "green jobs" training that was included in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (for loads more information on the ARRA, visit This may be a rich source of funding for community colleges across the country, even if not all the money is for job training per se. AACC is pleased that some of the funding will be awarded for capacity building. DOL's guidance, which is designed to help potential grant applicants prepare to apply for the funds, can be found at:

The actual Solicitation for Grant Applications should be made available in early June.

The stimulus legislation bill provided another $250 million for training, with a priority on health care, and information on the availability of those funds should be forthcoming.

We also hope that many community colleges are working with your Workforce Investment Boards to access the substantial WIA funding increases provided in the ARRA. For information on those funds, please visit: