OVAE Connection -- January 20, 2012
Archived Information

Lower-Income Parents, Students Need Early Information on College Costs

A new report from the College Board, Cracking the Student Aid Code, reveals that less than half (46 percent) of parents surveyed knew the cost of attending a public college in their states. This is a particular problem for lower-income and less-educated parents. The report found that less than half (44 percent) of Latino parent respondents knew about Pell Grants compared to 81 percent of Caucasians and 82 percent of African Americans. Respondents said providing early information about college financing was critically important to individual planning. Surveyed parents and students viewed simple information about paying for college delivered earlier in a student’s school career as the most helpful proposed improvement in the student aid system. Students and parents can find the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other student aid information available in English and Spanish on the Department’s website.

Federal Sustainability Education Steering Committee

In September 2010, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, OVAE led a group of federal agencies in convening the Sustainability Education Summit: Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy. The summit brought together leaders from higher education, K-12 education, business and industry, environmental organizations, and several federal agencies to build shared visions and strategies for education’s role in building a sustainable and green economy. A major part of the discussion was about building secondary-to-postsecondary career pathways—an indispensible element in the emerging economy.

Since September, federal agencies have been meeting to develop a set of national recommendations, per a mandate of Congress, based on the ideas shared at the summit. While overall leadership on sustainability issues has passed from OVAE to the Office of Postsecondary Education, OVAE continues to lead work related to pathways and the workforce.

The Department will issue the recommendations from the summit in a proceedings report this spring. For more details on the summit, and to read the remarks delivered by Secretary Arne Duncan and Under Secretary Martha Kanter, visit

Applications Open for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant

On Jan. 20, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a solicitation for grant applications under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program. DOL plans to award approximately $500 million this year through the program and a total of $2 billion over the next four years. Grants will support the development and improvement of postsecondary programs of two years or less that use evidence-based or innovative strategies to prepare students for successful careers in growing or emerging industries. The program will be administered by the Labor Department in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education. The application deadline is April 21, 2011, at 4 pm Eastern Time.

The grant program will expand opportunities for workers by: accelerating progress and reducing time to completion; improving retention and achievement rates; building instructional programs that meet industry needs; and strengthening online and technology-enabled learning. Applicants must be attending institutions of higher education as defined in Section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002) which offer programs that can be completed in not more than 2 years. Grants will enable eligible institutions to expand their capacity to create new education or training programs—or improve existing ones—to meet the needs of local or regional businesses. Every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million each year in grant awards, with $20 million being the highest award.

"Everyone, especially the trade-impacted workers who are the focus of this program, deserves access to the level of education necessary to obtain employment that can support a family,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “These grants will help colleges create programs that make it possible for workers to come back to school and acquire skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to compete for good jobs in growing industries."

"These grants will help educators and industry work together to ensure that more students are graduating with the skills that employers need,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This program is not about tinkering — it’s about transformation. This is not about getting more students to enroll — it’s about getting more students to graduation day and into good jobs."

Prospective applicants may view the online tutorial Grant Applications 101: A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants at The solicitation is available on or (click on “Find Grants”).

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Last Modified: 01/27/2011