September 25, 2020
For years, the federal government has played into a “College Bound or Bust” mentality, allocating education funding mostly to traditional degree programs and furthering the narrative that a college degree is the only path to success. The Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of conservatives in Congress, has worked through its American Worker Task Force to develop solutions that empower hard-working Americans to choose the best educational path for them.
Many Americans already know that skilled trades, which offer good pay and often struggle to find qualified workers, offer a promising path to success. The American Worker Task Force has proposed reforms to help level the playing field in federal programs between career and technical education (CTE) programs and traditional degree programs, to offer more paths for students, beginning in high school.
Unfortunately for those who choose to follow CTE paths, federal student aid heavily favors those who opt for a traditional college education. In order to equalize federal opportunities between CTE programs and four-year colleges, lawmakers must allow federally supported funding streams like Pell Grants and 529 Savings Accounts to be used for short-term CTE programs.