Mapping Your Future: More "Ability to Benefit" questions and more answers

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More "Ability to Benefit" questions and more answers

By Catherine Mueller

January 21, 2021

As interest in career pathway programs has increased, so have the questions about federal financial aid for the programs.

More specifically, there have been questions about compliance with the Ability to Benefit regulations and how those rules impact students who may not have a high school diploma or equivalent.

In a January 15 Electronic Announcement, the Department of Education expanded on its "Ability to Benefit (ATB) Frequently Asked Questions." According to the Announcement, the additional questions and answers are an extension to the attachment in Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN 16-09: Changes to Title IV Eligibility for Students Without a Valid High School Diploma Who Are Enrolled In Eligible Career Pathway Programs.

The new questions and answers, which are included in the Announcement, address whether students who are enrolled in career pathway programs are required to complete a secondary school credential, how an institution can comply with the ATB requirements, and how an institution's compliance will be evaluated.