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Welfare And Higher Education

Welfare Policy and Access to Higher Education

Education is the key to achieving self-sufficiency for low-income people, and welfare policy should reflect this fact.  “From Welfare to Independence: The College Option” and “Building Human Capital: The Impact of Post-Secondary Education on AFDC Recipients in Five States” make very clear the value of education to welfare recipients.  Education holds enormous benefits for welfare recipients, both professionally and in their personal lives, and education had a prominent place in the JOBS program begun in 1988.

The 1996 welfare reforms that replaced AFDC with TANF, however, did away with JOBS and abandoned education as a way of helping poor women.  Policy instead focused on getting women off the welfare rolls and into a job, any job, as soon as possible.  All across the country, women dropped out of school leaving the track to a good career for dead end jobs.  This startling development was very evident at CUNY which traditionally has been a resource for low income people, where hundreds of female students were forced to drop out. To address this important issue in September 1999 the Samuels Center co-sponsored a national conference in Washington D.C. which was attended by nearly 300 college students, academics, legislators, researchers and activists.  The attendees discussed strategies on how to work for change at the state and local level, and began setting up a national network of those concerned with welfare reform to allow for more sharing of information and joint efforts. The Samuels Center is in the forefront of these networking efforts, working to develop a national network of scholars who study the relationship of welfare policy to higher education, and on June 26 held a seminar in New York City, attended by thirty scholars.

Welfare and Higher Education Publications

Continuing a Commitment to the Higher Education Option: Model State Legislation, College Programs, and Advocacy Organizations that Support Access to Post-Secondary Education for Public Assistance Recipients
Charles Price and Tracy Steffy with Tracy McFarlane, April 2003

Community Colleges Addressing Student’s Needs: A Case Study of LaGuardia Community College, by Marilyn Gittell and Tracy Steffy, January 2000

Welfare Reform and the College Option: A National Conference: A Summary of Conference Proceedings, Charles Price, March 2000.

The Benefits of College Attendance: A Case Study of BMCC, Marilyn Gittell and Tracy Steffy, October 1998

A Survey of Services to Immigrant Populations at the City University of New York and Immigrant Research by CUNY Faculty, by Marilyn Gittell and Carol Archer, 1998.

Creating Social Capital at CUNY: A Comparison of Higher Education Programs for AFDC Recipients, by Marilyn Gittell, Kirk Vandersall, Jennifer Holdaway, Kathe Newman, January 1996.

Why Good Students Leave CUNY, by Marilyn Gittell and Jennifer Holdaway with Laura McKenna, January 1996.

Testimony of Dr. Marilyn Gittell before the Committee on General Welfare of the New York City Council, September 20, 1995.

The Family College at the City University: An Evaluation Report, 1995.

Building Human Capital: The Impact of Post-Secondary Education on AFDC Recipients In Five States, by Marilyn Gittell, Jill Gross and Jennifer Holdaway, September 1993.

Higher Education in JOBS: An Option or an Opportunity?: A Comparison of Nine States,
by Marilyn Gittell and Sally Covington, September 1993.

Special Programs in American Colleges & Universities for Low-Income Women
Compiled by the Howard Samuels State Management and Policy Center,1993.

From Welfare to Independence: The College Option, by Marilyn Gittell with Margaret Schehl and Camille Fareri, March 1990