College-ready teens in short supply

“It is critical that federal student aid be responsive to the needs of adults who often must juggle work, family, and school responsibilities and who are on their own financially,” the report said.

Aid must be sufficient to allow adult students not only access to, but also completion of postsecondary education.

“Students without sufficient aid may pile additional work hours on top of their existing employment and class schedule, or they may decide to take fewer courses per term,” states a report titled “Green Lights & Red Tape,” released in December 2007 by The Institute for College Access and Success. “Working excessive hours is also linked with lower rates of college success and completion.”

With budget proposals in Congress threatening to cut the Pell Grant program, funding for adult and nontraditional student aid is precarious.

“It seems short-sighted to disinvest in these programs now when we really should be maintaining investments in these programs and making sure we have post-secondary educated workers for the future,” said Choitz. “Workers can be much more productive towards paying off the national debt with wages coming from bachelor’s or other post-secondary degrees than they would if they were high school graduates.”

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