CSG Midwest
Ohio has become the latest state in the Midwest where community colleges will have the chance to develop and provide bachelor’s degree programs for students. Under HB 49 (the state’s budget bill), these programs must be limited to applied and technical fields and be approved by Ohio’s chancellor of higher education. To get the go-ahead, a community college must show that its four-year program has buy-in from a regional industry or area businesses — for example, they agree to offer work-based learning and employment opportunities to students. In addition, the degree must meet a regional workforce need and fill a void not already met by a four-year college.

The New York legislature passed a bill enacting the Excelsior Scholarship on April 7th. The program, designed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, provides tuition-free college at New York public universities to families making up to $125,000 a year. Although other states offer free community college, New York is the first state to fully subsidize tuition at both two and four-year universities.

Maryland Delegate Cory McCray is currently sponsoring a bill moving through the House of Delegates entitled the POWER (Providing Our Workers with Education and Readiness) Apprenticeship Act (House Bill 467). As a graduate of a 5-year apprenticeship program, McCray has been a long-standing advocate for state expansion of apprenticeship legislation.


CSG Midwest

The idea of providing tuition-free community college got a major boost in early 2015, when President Barack Obama included it in his State of the Union speech. The America’s College Promise Actwas subsequently introduced this past summer in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. If signed into law, the act would create a new state-federal partnership to waive student tuition and fees at community colleges, with the federal government providing $3 for every $1 invested by a state.

CSG South

Since the turn of the 21st century, the United States has maintained a cultural creed that the only path to a middle-class lifestyle is through a four-year bachelor's degree or higher. However, increasing analyses are demonstrating that industries with the highest growth in the next decade will demand skills readily obtainable through a two-year technical education. Moreover, several policy and industry experts have begun raising concerns about the ever-increasing gap between middle-skill jobs (those requiring more than a high school education but less than a four-year degree) and the number of middle-skilled workers available to fill those jobs. These findings, along with evidence indicating that middle-class household incomes are more attainable by those with a member holding at least an associate's degree, are steering SLC policymakers toward creating and expanding programs that increase their technical and community college graduation rates. In that vein, this SLC Regional Resource examines efforts by policymakers in selected SLC member states to implement postsecondary scholarships programs specifically targeted at increasing their number of two-year degree graduates.

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Over the past two years, a big change has occurred in high schools across the state of Kansas. More and more students are getting a head start on their future careers and their postsecondary studies — by enrolling in and completing courses in career and technical education, or CTE. The rates of growth in the state are striking.

The Act will effectively make tuition free for all high school graduates who go to a two-year college. Participating students will have to maintain a 2.0 grade point average, attend mandatory meetings, work with a mentor, and perform community service. The program, expected to cost $34 million per year, will be paid for using $300 million in excess lottery reserve funds and by creating a $47 million endowment.

Many policymakers and education officials are watching closely as Tennessee rolls out an ambitious plan to provide free postsecondary tuition to the state's high school graduates.  As part of Gov. Bill Haslam's "Drive to 55" initiative, the newly signed Tennessee Promise bill will provide two years of community college or a college of applied technology at no cost to students.  The overall goal is to increase the number of Tennesseans earning a degree or certificate to 55 percent from the current rate of 32 percent.

The U.S. Department of Labor is using $100 million dollars of current funds to increase the use of apprenticeships in the workforce.  As part of President Obama's charge to Vice President Biden to build a stronger middle class, these competitive grants will allow state partnerships to develop and increase the use of internships that lead to employment.

On April 16, 2014, President Obama asked Vice President Biden to take the lead on investments necessary to assist individuals get trained with the skills needed to land a job. Following training the initiative strives to help hard-working Americans get placed in a good, middle class job.  The first effort offers competitive grants to partnerships of community colleges, employers and industry so they can create job-driven training programs.

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