Acting President Meg Benke Testifies at Department of Education Rulemaking Hearing on Title IV Financial Aid
By Michael Mancini, director of community and government relations, Office of Communications and Government Relations
June 13, 2013
On May 21 Acting President Benke, at right, testified in front of the Department of Education's rulemaking hearing on Title IV financial aid.
Benke noted during her remarks “Adult students now make up a large portion of students enrolled in higher education institutions today. However, when state and federal regulations are created it is rarely with this student population in mind – rather many legislators and regulators continue to treat them as the exception."
According to the National Center for Education Statistics in recent years, the percentage increase in the number of students aged 25 and over has been larger than the percentage increase in the number of younger students, and this pattern is expected to continue. For example, between 2000 and 2010 the percentage of students in college aged 25 or older increased by 42 percent.
"While there are many young people who can ‘stop-out’ of life to go to school, many other students – especially adults - cannot. We need to find ways to continue to help students go to school while working full time, tending to family and meeting civic obligations. We are seeing a greater number of our students in their 20’s, working and going to school part-time" Benke continued.
Before the hearing, Benke and Michael Mancini, director of government relations, met with congressman Owens, NY-21, to talk about the college and some new initiatives. There are more than 1,700 Empire State College students in his district, and three units, Watertown, Fort Drum and Plattsburgh. They also met with staff to congressman Hanna, NY-22, to talk about STEM Education; Hanna is the co-chair of the STEM Learning Caucus.
Benke and Mancini also meet with the staff to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. They attended these meetings with representatives from Thomas Edison State College and University of Maryland-University College. The topics discussed were Rubio-Wyden-Warner The Student Right to Know Before You Go bill, as well as the Higher Education Reauthorization process, which is set to start sometime in early fall. The group offered its expertise and asked to be consulted as the process moved forward.