Federal Funds Would Boost Community College-Job Training Partnerships

DC Shuttle …

Vice President Announces Competitive Grants for Community Colleges. Vice President Joe Biden announced a program to award $100 million in competitive grants to fund public-private partnerships among community colleges, job training programs and businesses. The America’s Promise Job-Driven Training grants will fund innovative new partnerships that help provide education and job training for in-demand middle- and high-skilled jobs. The grants are part of the White House’s push to make community college free for all Americans.  The grants will be awarded by the Department of Labor and funded by revenue from the H1-B visa program.

Community College Partnerships Bill Introduced. U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) introduced the Technical Education Creates High-Paying Careers, or TECH Careers, Act. The bill, which is cosponsored by Reps. Jim Himes (D-CT), Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Mike Quigley (D-IL), would provide federal support for community and technical colleges that work with industry employers to train students for high-demand and good-paying careers. The bill was reported to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

White House Announces Loan Repayment Initiatives. The White House announced more than a dozen new initiatives aimed at aiding student loan borrowers with repayment. Among the new initiatives is a goal to enroll at least 2 million more borrowers in plans like the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) program that allow borrowers to cap their monthly repayments at a percentage of their income, and the launch of StudentLoans.gov/Repay which will offer a streamlined guide to different student loan repayment plans. The White House also announced new consumer protections for student loan borrowers that were created as a joint effort among the Department of Education, the Department of the Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a coalition of state Attorneys General that have been working to better protect and advocate for student loan borrowers.

States Take Action Against Loan Servicer. A coalition of 29 state Attorneys General from around the country alleged that Navient acted illegally by encouraging call-center workers to get borrowers struggling to repay their loans off the phone as quickly as possible, without fully explaining all of their repayment options to them. The AGs’ action comes after a two-year investigation of Navient, the student loan giant, part of the former Sallie Mae. Read more in The Huffington Post.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan College Savings Bill. U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Boost Saving for College Act, which would encourage Americans to save money for college by making it easier to use 529 college savings plans. It would provide a tax credit for low- and middle-income earners who save for college, encourage employers to match employees’ college savings, and allow savers with disabled children to convert 529 savings to an ABLE account. It would also allow 529 savings not needed for college to be transferred to a Roth IRA.

First Lady Celebrates College Signing Day. First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the sixth annual College Signing Day, an event started in 2010 to celebrate and encourage high school seniors who are college-bound. High schools, colleges and celebrities around the country celebrated the event as well. You can watch the First Lady’s signing day remarks to seniors here.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of May 2, 2016. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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