Earlier this year, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan and buried in the legislation was another attempt to modify the 90/10 rule. To better understand the new application of the rule and its future, I talked with Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, a decade-long policy advisor to Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Assistant Secretary at the Department of Labor during the Obama administration. Jane and I talked about whether the days of the 90/10 rule are numbered — and if there are other metrics that could be applied more universally to higher education and would provide a stronger assurance of quality than a VW Beetle-era ratio.
Griffin: What additional sources of federal aid might be counted under the new provision, and why would Congress seek to include these other funds?
Oates: When discussing this provision in past reauthorization deliberations, the major concern among policymakers was the inclusion of GI Bill funds, which has now garnered bipartisan support. However, under the new definition included in ARPA, it has been argued by some that the new ratio could not only count GI Bill funds, but potentially also include funds from federal programs such as dollars under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAAA), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) training funds and the smaller programs associated with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other competitive grant programs.