The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the primary advocacy group for America’s community college system, has headed warnings for its member schools regarding the latest PROSPER Act which is being proposed in Congress and has asked for their help in data collection on the risk-sharing scheme.
What community colleges are fighting against
At issue is how “Return to Title IV” calculations could potentially be altered if the legislation passes, which would lead to significant losses in revenue for schools that have high dropout rates such as community colleges. As an example, if a student currently finishes 49% of a term, the college is able to keep 49% of the earned federal aid. The PROSPER Act calls for that figure to be reduced to 25%. The new formula would not be advantageous for any higher ed institution, but community colleges would feel the greatest impact due to the type of student that enrolls there which often leads to higher withdrawal rates than private institutions.
Also, the PROSPER Act also calls to eliminate the current provision that allows students who withdraw to retain half of their Pell Grant disbursement, no matter when they leave college. The bill would authorize colleges to require students to pay back up to 10 percent of the amount they owe if they withdraw prior to the end of the term. The bill states that it is not intended to supersede institutional refund policies. AACC would like to advocate Congress on behalf of the 1200 schools and 12 million students they represent, to see that the new law will have a significant impact on collected tuition revenue. To do that, we are also providing you with the form and email addresses.
Here is the link for any school that is willing to share their data with AACC. They have also offered up direct email contact information for those that may have further questions via AACC’s David Baime, and Jolanta Juszkiewicz.