Non-traditional students falling through cracks in financial aid system

A new report from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families explores the disconnect between the state’s current financial aid tools–focused primarily on traditional students coming out of high school–and the evolving needs of working adults and employers. “Willing and Able, But Not Eligible” describes a situation in which workers need more advanced skills and better credentials than in the past to command family-supporting wages, but are unable to access the state’s primary need-based financial aid tools. Meanwhile, Wisconsin businesses continue to face a shortage of workers who possess precisely the kinds of skills these adults seek to acquire.

“It’s time to update our approach to financial aid in a way that will benefit both working families and employers,” said WCCF Policy Analyst John Keckhaver. “It no longer makes sense to focus solely on 18-year-olds who can devote all or most of their time to their studies. Adult workers returning to the classroom are an important asset to Wisconsin’s economy, and we need to invest in them.”

Most adults who study must fit their school schedules around jobs and family obligations. As a result, they are often unable to enroll for the number of class hours required to be eligible for financial aid. And for many that are working full time, their incomes often disqualify them for need-based tuition assistance. The report highlights steps taken in other states meant to address these same problems. Read full story. (The Daily Kenoshan)

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