Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Create Profile of Students Unable to Enroll


AACS' Restore Student Access – Profile of Students Unable to Enroll

Below is a "Open Letter" which we are encouraging you to incorporate into AACS ATB member institutions' enrollment process, highlighting on a monthly-basis, the number of potential ATB students who are the first to be denied federal student assistance as a result of the elimination of the ATB student access and eligibility provision.

AACS will provide a separate letter template which institutions can use through VOTERVOICE to submit tallies to their elected officials over the course of the next 30 days leading into the AACS Annual Conference & Expo.

Once again, AACS will keep a running tally of the institutions who participate and the number of students who are being denied the benefits of student financial assistance for the formulation of a separate letter to Congress.  Please be certain to forward your letters to:  dana.swanson@remingtoncollege.edu

  

Restore ATB Student Access – Profile of Students Unable to Enroll 
Please help me gain access to the Federal Student Financial Assistance I need to go to school! 


As a student who does not possess a high school diploma, home school certification, GED, or other recognized equivalency, this institution has informed me that, regardless of the institution I attempt to enroll, I am not eligible to apply for or receive any Federal Student Financial Assistance.

The school informs me that Congress recently made changes to the law which prohibits individuals like myself from being eligible to apply for federal student financial aid.

As a Member of Congress I am seeking your guidance and asking for your help.  Prior to changes in the law which took effect on July 1, 2012 I would have been able to take an entrance test, which, if I passed would have enabled me to be enrolled on the basis of my ability-to-benefit.  But now, that option is no longer available to me and individuals like myself.

Please allow me to tell you a little bit about myself and explain why access to these funds are so important to me and my ability to enroll in postsecondary education.

How to Create the Student Petition


Sign Up Now On ATB BLOG! Restore ATB Blog:  http://restoreatb.blogspot.com/


AACS' Preserve ATB Student Access – Student Petition
Following, please find a Student Petition which we are requesting that all AACS member ATB institutions circulate amongst your currently enrolled ATB students for signature between now and either this Thursday, September 27, 2012 or, not no later than, Friday, October 12, 2012 – 30 days and 15 days out from the AACS Annual Convention and Expo.

AACS' short-term goal is to have each ATB institution collect as many signatures as possible from your current ATB students on the attached petition below and have you share the petition with your elected officials on one or the other of the dates above through the NEW AACS VOTERVOICE advocacy system.

At the annual convention AACS GRT will then tally all of the petitions and send ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS a letter detailing all of your efforts from the Annual Convention and Expo!  Please take the next couple of days to try and complete your Petition for submission during the first of two Congressional Outreach days and tomorrow's announcement of the link to the AACS VOTERVOICE advocacy system.

Instructions:
Print the following letter on your institution’s letter 
Have all currently enrolled ATB students sign letter (if you need a second page, please use one) 
Scan signed letter 
E-mail the file to Dana Swanson at:  dana.swanson@remingtonadmin.edu

Preserve ATB Student Access – Student Petition 

We the undersigned students wish to express our gratitude the 112th Congress for preserving access to federal student financial assistance for students like ourselves, who have enrolled in postsecondary education as ability-to-benefit (ATB) students, with access to Federal Student Financial Assistance.

As we the undersigned do not possess a high school diploma, home school certification, GED, or other equivalency, without the ATB definition contained in the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, we would not have been able enroll in an institution of higher education and pursue our  passion for careers as  licensed professionals in the cosmetology industry.

Without the benefit of federal student financial assistance obtained on the basis of our ability-to-benefit, it would have been very hard, if not impossible, for us to pay for the full cost of the education without access to federal grants and loans.

It is our understanding that Congress has made changes to the HEA which to effect on July 1, 2012 prohibit any new ATB students from having access to federal grants and loans like those we receive and will continue to be eligible for throughout the length of our programs.

As ATB students who know first-hand the difference these funds provided, we respectfully request that you reconsider elimination of future ATB students' eligibility.  Please take whatever steps you can to restore and preserve ATB students access to student financial aid.

Respectfully,

Students of <insert institution’s name here>

<Insert mass signatures here..........it might take multiple pages......that’s OK.....the more the better>

Friday, September 21, 2012

ATB Timeline Update

      Included in the timeline below you will find information similar to the previous timelines we've released as well as updated info on the target dates for outreach efforts to members of Congress. Stay tuned for additional posts on key meetings Tom Netting held this week with members of Congress and information on AACS's new advocacy tool. These updates will follow later on this afternoon.

_________________________________________________________________________________

AACS' ATB Advocacy Strategy & Timeline

Membership Communication, Resources, & Support
In order to provide the AACS member institutions who continue to enroll eligible ability-to-benefit (ATB) students and those who previously enrolled ATB with timely information on our continuous efforts to Preserve and Restore ATB Student Eligibility, we should immediately develop a separate AACS listserve (atblistserve) and also provide a separate ATB Resources Page on the AACS Government Relations portion of the website.

The listserve will be used to help circulate the additional information and guidance on those current ATB students who are still eligible based upon the information from U.S. Department of Education officials, provide a forum for discussions on the limited avenues available for students who do not have a high school diploma, home school certification or GED to access postsecondary education, and promote the specific, targeted legislative activities of AACS member institutions who endeavor to restore, at a minimum, a modified version of the previous six semester credit hour provision as a form of ATB student access.

Supplementing the listserve should be an ATB Resources Page which will provide an archive of relevant information for schools to review and use as necessary.

This will initially include the various documents, webinar slides/presentation(s), and information AACS generated prior to the July 1, 2012 eligibility deadline, links to official U.S. Department of Education information on ATB (including the DCL noted above and any additional updates the Department may provide), other resource materials from other entities we deem appropriate (Learning Disabled Community support, Rizert & Leyton support, summaries, surveys, CC information???), and updates on the status of the Federal Appropriations Process which will most likely be the most expedient vehicle to move our proposal..

ATB Call to Action
Contained on the ATB Resources Page, and promoted on the atblistserve, will be a series of directed Calls to Action, which will enable concerned member institutions to use some form of direct Congressional Grassroots Contact system to contact their Members of Congress (House and Senate) requesting, incrementally:
  1. House Appropriations Committee support for the modified version of the Senate ATB provision;
  2. Senate support for modification to the language; and
  3. House and Senate inclusion of the language in final joint House & Senate Conference negotiation.

The campaign would include the normal capabilities to provide school owners with the ability to request relief on behalf of the types of students they previously enrolled – that remain eligible and would be supplemented with targeted "PRESERVE & RESTORE ATB STUDENT ACCESS" days which would promote some form of combined:
  • on-the-spot outreach and/or  letters/postcards from students denied access and eligibility as a result of the provision;
  • currently enrolled ATB student petitions reaffirming their appreciation for their continued eligibility; and
  • institutional contacts – spaced out strategically over the next four months (suggestions for discussion on ATB Timeline attached).
Membership Provisional Transition Prospects
In addition to the legislative campaign it is also now more prudent than ever to maintain contact with the AACS ATB schools to provide them with assurances that:
  • AACS REMAINS FOCUSED ON THIS ISSUE;
  • will continue to fight with them for full restoration of student access;
  • will seek out and share information on the alternative paths ATB students have at their disposal now that the legislation has repealed access and eligibility for this large, diverse population of formerly eligible students.
This should include candid, on-going conversations regarding both the alternative paths (GED, high school diplomas, etc.) and discussions regarding the prospect of partnering with AACS Associate Members to enable institutions to provide GED Prep, inform them of the locations of testing sites currently provided, and discuss how to maintain the necessary support and contact with the individuals during the pursuit of their GED, high school diploma, or other credential. 


AACS FALLBACK POSITIONS

  1. Permanent Restoration of ATB Student Eligibility
  2. One-year Delay in Implementation
  3. Preservation Limited Only to Non-degree, Certificate and Diploma Program Access
  4. Reduction in Maximum Award For All Students to Preserve ATB Student Eligibility
  5. Mandatory Delay of All Title IV Disbursements for ATB Students for 60 Days
  6. Reduce Minimum Institutional Acceptance Levels of ATB Students from 50%, 35%, 25% and 20%
  7. Accept 6 Semester Credit Hour Equivalency at 225 Clock Hours vs. 180 Clock Hours
  8. Raise ATB Minimum Educational Assessment Eligibility Levels
  9. Age Limitation
AACS Webpage:

AACS' "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" Initiative
  
AACS is deeply concerned with the impact the removal of the Ability-to-Benefit provisions contained in Section 484(d) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended will have on students.

Included in Division F, Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2012) is a provision which eliminated portions of the HEA providing students who do not possess a high school diploma, GED, or their equivalency with access to Federal Student Financial Assistance (Title IV federal grants and loans).

Since July 1, 2012, students without proper credentials are no longer eligible to use federal assistance to help them pursue their postsecondary education goals, severely restricting, if not eliminating their potential pathway to postsecondary education. 

At a minimum, the elimination of this expedient form of basic skills assessment and determination of student competencies as a means of access to higher education will lengthen the time to:
  • entry into an institution of higher education;
  • completion of the state-regulated program in the cosmetology arts and sciences; and – ultimately
  • employment in a licensed, profession classified as "in-demand" by the U.S. Department of Labor.
AACS understands that Congress did not make the decision to strike this provision lightly, and that it was done so in an effort to help preserve the Federal Pell Grant maximum award.  In many cases, it is the same population of students who gain the greatest benefit from the preservation of this grant assistance, who would not be eligible but for the opportunities provided through the ability-to-benefit provisions.

AACS is calling upon Congress to reverse course and restore and preserve ability-to-benefit students' access through the adoption of the proposed language which provides access under specific criteria linked to students' success in completing a portion of the program.  To do otherwise would be denying access to the very students who need access to Federal Pell Grants the most.

Surely protecting access for these students justify the nominal offsets required to preserve their most direct line of access to postsecondary education and a brighter future. A future which benefits not only themselves, but also the employers who hire them and our nation as a whole.

AACS Legislative Agenda

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools three-pronged legislative agenda for the restoration of ATB funding is:

1.        federal financial aid eligibility after the successful completion of 180 clock hours or 6 credit hours; and
2.        institutional limitation of no more than 50% of its student body participating in the federal financial aid programs via Ability-to-Benefit provision

Call To Action

For those AACS members institutions who provide access to students through ability-to-benefit testing and/or the more recent use of successful completion of 180 clock hours as the basis for granting students Title IV eligibility under the ability-to-benefit provisions; AACS has prepared a strategic timeline and series of supporting documents to help you reach out to your elected officials in support of the AACS "Preserve and Restore ATB Student Access" Initiative.

Over the course of the next two months heading into the AACS Annual Convention and Expo, AACS hopes that your institution will participate in this targeted effort which seeks to promote the benefits of your current ATB students' access to postsecondary education, and the need for Congress to restore eligibility for students seeking to attend your institution who now find themselves without access to the federal student financial assistance they need to pursue their postsecondary education.

Outlined below, is a three-month legislative campaign, subject to change and modification based upon our effectiveness and the will of Congress to address the potentially serious implications associated with eliminating, or at best significantly limiting, access to postsecondary education for students without a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent.

AACS' Government Relations Team is committed to seeking ways in which to address this important issue and will continue to fight, as we have since the provisions was first introduced in September of 2011, to preserve ATB students access.

ATB Campaign Timeline &
Targeted Strategic Dates For Congressional Outreach
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 – 45 Days Till AACS Annual Conference & Expo
Launch of AACS "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" BLOG
Institutions Are Asked To:
·         Sign Up As Participant on BLOG
·         Initiate Collection of Signatures to be Submitted to Elected Officials Offices
·         Collect and Share Profiles of Recent Stories of Students Denied Access


Thursday September 27, 2012 – 30  Days Till AACS Annual Conference & Expo
Launch of "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" Congressional Outreach
Institutions Are Asked To:
·         Contact Their Elected Officials Using AACS Script
·         Submit (In Not Already Provided) A Copy of Their Current ATB Student Petition
·         Collect and Share Profiles of Recent Stories of Students Denied Access
·         Maintain and Provide A Tally of The Number of Students Turned Away

Wednesday, October 12, 2012  – 15 Days Till AACS Annual Conference & Expo
Launch of 2nd "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" Congressional Outreach
Institutions Are Asked To:
·         Contact Their Elected Officials Using AACS Script
·         Submit (In Not Already Provided) A Copy of Their Current ATB Student Petition
·         Collect and Share Profiles of Recent Stories of Students Denied Access
·         Maintain and Provide A Tally of The Number of Students Turned Away

ATB Campaign Resources
AACS' Preserve ATB Student Access – Student Petition
Attached is a Student Petition which we are requesting that all AACS member ATB institutions circulate amongst your currently enrolled ATB students for signature between now and September 10, 2012.  AACS' goal is to collect a combined 5,000+ signatures for presentation, along with letters to be constructed by AACS for your submission to your elected officials on September 12, 2012 – 45 days prior to the start of the AACS Annual Convention & Expo.

Preserve ATB Student Access – Student Petition

We the undersigned students wish to express our gratitude the 112th Congress for preserving access to federal student financial assistance for students like ourselves, who have enrolled in postsecondary education as ability-to-benefit (ATB) students, with access to Federal Student Financial Assistance.

As we the undersigned do not possess a high school diploma, home school certification, GED, or other equivalency, without the ATB definition contained in the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, we would not have been able enroll in an institution of higher education and pursue our  passion for careers as  licensed professionals in the cosmetology industry.

Without the benefit of federal student financial assistance obtained on the basis of our ability-to-benefit, it would have been very hard, if not impossible, for us to pay for the full cost of the education without access to federal grants and loans.

It is our understanding that Congress has made changes to the HEA which prevents new ATB students from having access to federal grants and loans like those we receive and will continue to be eligible for throughout the length of our programs.

As ATB students who know first-hand the difference these funds provided, we respectfully request that you reconsider elimination of future ATB students' eligibility.  Please take whatever steps you can to restore and preserve ATB students access to student financial aid.


AACS' Restore Student Access – Profile of Students Unable to Enroll
Attached is a "Open Letter" which we are encouraging you to incorporate into AACS member institutions' enrollment process, highlighting on a monthly-basis, the number of potential ATB students who are the first to be denied federal student assistance as a result of the elimination of the ATB student access and eligibility provision.

AACS will provide a separate letter template which institutions can use to submit tallies to their elected officials over the course of the next 45 days leading into the AACS Annual Conference & Expo.  AACS will keep a running tally of the institutions who participate and the number of students who receive the benefits to use as we continue to promote preservation of access for ATB students.

Restore ATB Student Access – Profile of Students Unable to Enroll

Please help me gain access to the Federal Student Financial Assistance I need to go to school!

As a student who does not possess a high school diploma, home school certification, GED, or other recognized equivalency, this institution has informed me that, regardless of the institution I attempt to enroll, I am not eligible to apply for or receive any Federal Student Financial Assistance.

The school informs me that Congress recently made changes to the law which prohibits individuals like myself from being eligible to apply for federal student financial aid.

As a Member of Congress I am seeking your guidance and asking for your help.  Prior to changes in the law which took effect on July 1, 2012 I would have been able to take an entrance test, which, if I passed would have enabled me to be enrolled on the basis of my ability-to-benefit.  But now, that option is no longer available to me and individuals like myself.

Please allow me to tell you a little bit about myself and explain why access to these funds are so important to me and my ability to enroll in postsecondary education.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Signed _______________________________________________________________________


AACS' Preserve ATB Student Access – Student Showcase Profiles
Attached is an outline detailing steps AACS member ATB institutions are asked to consider undertaking in order to develop and promote ATB students over the course of the next three months.

AACS will serve as a clearinghouse of all of the student profiles amassed by ATB institutions, and use them to help put a face on the issue.  With permission, AACS will share the profiles provided by membership with key Congressional offices in an attempt to preserve similar ATB students opportunity for access and success.

Preserve ATB Student Access – Student Profiles Showcase

Why?
AACS needs to promote the positive impact ATB students receive as a result of their access to an education in the cosmetology arts and sciences and how access to federal student financial assistance helped them in the pursuit and attainment of their individual career goals.

Plan
AACS is encouraging ATB member institutions to devise and implement an outreach program  to collect and highlight the successes of past ATB student graduates that are working in the beauty industry and compelling biographies of current ATB students which would not otherwise be eligible to enroll without the ATB test or 225 clock hour equivalency provisions contained in the statute.

How?
ATB institutions are encouraged to develop lists of both currently enrolled ATB students (easily compiled from the list of ATB students who sign the "Preserve ATB Student Access" Student Petition) and former ATB student graduates. From the list, each institution should select a manageable size group of graduates/students to serve as illustrative examples of the types of ATB students your institution has supported.

Once the students and graduates are selected the institution should consider the best and most effective means to develop a brief profile of their unique circumstances and what access to postsecondary education and cosmetology schools means to them (developed either through interviews with the individuals or responses to questions you pose to them. 

ATB institutions are encouraged to let them know this is enable your  institution to continue to to provide access to individuals like themselves in the future and that in order to do so Congress needs to hear their stories – so future generations to have the same chance they received.

Key Words/Phrase to Use in Bios
  • Without the Ability to Benefit program _______ would not be a licensed Barber.
  • Meet _________.... dropped out of high school because…. After several years of…. _____ finally found direction at Sunstate Academy. Without the Ability of Benefit ______ would not be gainfully employed and be contributing to society.
  • Ability to participate
  • Return on investment
  • Access to
  • Gainful employment
  • Ability to Benefit allowed her/him to
This isn’t about regulation, enrollments or budget. This is about human beings that are being affected.

ATB Resources

ATB Legislation
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Division F – Title III)
http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.2055.enr:#

ATB Regulatory Guidance
January 18, 2012 – Dear Colleague Letter (DCL ID: GEN 12-01)
http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1201.html

April 2, 2012 – Student Eligibility [2012-2013 Federal Student Aid Handbook]
http://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/1213FSAHbkVol1.html

AACS ATB Documents
Former and Revised ATB Statutory Language (PDF)

AACS ATB Webinars
January Webinar
March Webinar

Letters to Congress In Support of Preservation of ATB Student Access
House Appropriations Committee Letter (PDF)
Senate Appropriations Committee Letter (PDF)

ATB In the News:
Inside Higher Education Story
(Jenn and Dana can assist in keeping this current based upon communications posted)
 
AACS
"PRESERVE & RESTORE ATB STUDENT ACCESS" Timeline

Week of September 17, 2012
ATB Task Force Hill Visits (Tom Netting & Katherine Brodie)
9/19 – Launch of AACS "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" Congressional Outreach
Institutions Are Asked To:
·         Contact their Elected Officials Using AACS Script
·         Submit to Elected Officials Offices A Copy of Their Current ATB Student Petition
·         Collect and Share Profiles of Recent Stories of Students Denied Access
TENTATIVE 9/18 – 1PM ATB Restoration Society Conference Call
  • House & Senate CR Negotiations Likely Conclude
Week of September 24, 2012
TENTATIVE 9/25 – 1PM ATB Restoration Society Conference Call
9/27 – Launch of 1st "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" Congressional Outreach
Institutions Are Asked To:
·         Contact Their Elected Officials Using AACS Script
·         Submit (In Not Already Provided) A Copy of Their Current ATB Student Petition
·         Collect and Share Profiles of Recent Stories of Students Denied Access
·         Maintain and Provide A Tally of The Number of Students Turned Away
9/28 – 2PM GRT Conference Call

Week of October 1, 2012
TENTATIVE 10/2 – 1PM ATB Restoration Society Conference Call

Week of October 8, 2012
TENTATIVE 10/9 – 1PM ATB Restoration Society Conference Call
10/12 – 2PM GRT Conference Call
10/12 – Launch of 2nd "Preserve & Restore ATB Student Access" Congressional Outreach
Institutions Are Asked To:
·         Contact Their Elected Officials Using AACS Script
·         Submit (In Not Already Provided) A Copy of Their Current ATB Student Petition
·         Collect and Share Profiles of Recent Stories of Students Denied Access
·         Maintain and Provide A Tally of The Number of Students Turned Away

Week of October 15, 2012
TENTATIVE 10/16 – 1PM ATB Restoration Society Conference Call

Week of October 22, 2012
AACS Annual Conference & Expo
TENTATIVE 10/23 – 1PM ATB Restoration Society Conference Call
10/22 – 2PM GRT Conference Call

Week of October 29, 2012
AACS Annual Conference & Expo

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Initiative

AACS is deeply concerned with the impact the removal of the Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) provisions contained in Section 484(d) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended will have on students.

Included in Division F, Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2012) is a provision which eliminated portions of the HEA providing students who do not possess a high school diploma, GED, or their equivalency with access to Federal Student Financial Assistance (Title IV federal grants and loans).

Since July 1, 2012, students without proper credentials are no longer eligible to use federal assistance to help them pursue their postsecondary education goals, severely restricting, if not eliminating their potential pathway to postsecondary education. 

At a minimum, the elimination of this expedient form of basic skills assessment and determination of student competencies as a means of access to higher education will lengthen the time to:
  • entry into an institution of higher education;
  • completion of the state-regulated program in the cosmetology arts and sciences; and – ultimately
  • employment in a licensed, profession classified as "in-demand" by the U.S. Department of Labor.
AACS understands that Congress did not make the decision to strike this provision lightly, and that it was done so in an effort to help preserve the Federal Pell Grant maximum award.  In many cases, it is the same population of students who gain the greatest benefit from the preservation of this grant assistance, who would not be eligible but for the opportunities provided through the ability-to-benefit provisions.

AACS is calling upon Congress to reverse course and restore and preserve ability-to-benefit students' access through the adoption of the proposed language which provides access under specific criteria linked to students' success in completing a portion of the program.  To do otherwise would be denying access to the very students who need access to Federal Pell Grants the most.

Surely protecting access for these students justify the nominal offsets required to preserve their most direct line of access to postsecondary education and a brighter future. A future which benefits not only themselves, but also the employers who hire them and our nation as a whole.