Matthew Morin: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. We have a good group. I'm excited. The name of our presentation as an anti-poverty strategy: creating financial aid opportunities for HST, that's high school diploma, and HSC, that's high school equivalency. So students who are on GED or HiSET, adult school students using Ability To Benefit, otherwise known as ATB, and SB 554.

Our presenters today are Naomi Castro from the Career Ladders Project, as well as Patti Bopko, who is the director of Financial Aid at Chaffey College, and myself. I'm Matthew Morin. I'm the assistant dean of Intersegmental Partnerships at Chaffey College. And Laura Alvarado, who is the assistant director of Adult Education Pathways at Chaffey College. And I have to say, even though her name is at the bottom of this list, she really is the one who has led this presentation and has gotten us all together to make sure that we're on track. So big kudos to Laura for helping to shepherd us through.

Next slide. So this presentation will be about braiding two strategies that have emerged in the last couple of years in California as really effective for helping HST and HSC students transition into credit college work. And these two strategies are both approaches that colleges can use to provide financial aid support to students who are pursuing a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate, as well as waive fees for students, whether they are non-residents or residents. And SB 554 is a tool that allows students to duly enroll while in an adult school program for HST, HSC. And it allows the college to waive the fees for those students. And ability to benefit is a federal tool that allows us to provide financial aid, Pell, to those very same students.

Next slide. So both of these tools fall under a kind of broad umbrella that we might want to call dual enrollment for adult ed. And traditionally, dual enrollment has been almost entirely focused on-- traditionally, it's high school student minors. And there's been a ton of research on this. CCRC has done some really great work as well as many other organizations. Recently, the wheelhouse study from the University of California came out and has some great research about California specifically.

And most of the research points to pretty consistent findings. That students who duly enroll in high school and college at the same time are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college full time, maintain higher GPAs in college, persist and complete baccalaureate degrees in four to six years. And I think what's most important for our purposes in adult ed is that these positive effects are proportionally greater for students who are first gen, low socioeconomic status, Latinx, Black, who fall into disproportionately impacted groups with other educational barriers. And as you know, with adult ed, that's the space that we live in. And so the question as to why dual enrollment hasn't been a tool that's used widely for adults who are pursuing high school diploma or high school equivalency, I think, is one that now is getting answered, which is pretty exciting.

Next slide. So one of the great organizations that takes that landscape of studies and crunches , them in a really effective way, especially looking at peer-reviewed studies, is the Institute for Educational Sciences. So they're one of the most reliable sources that we can look at for outcomes and educational strategies. And they have dual enrollment as one of their key success tools for transition. So I just wanted to bring up IES because I think they're an important group as well when we're talking about reliability of research on this particular topic.

Next slide. So when it comes to transition in adult ed and California specifically, we really, I think sometimes outside of adult ed, as a society, underestimate the number of adults in our state who do not yet have a high school diploma. In California. It's 17%, a little over 5 million adults, which is 4% higher than the national average. And that national average of 13% is still pretty problematic, but we could really call that a crisis of educational attainment in California because of the size of our state, because of the size of the population of students or residents who don't have high school diplomas and the impact on upward social mobility and economic opportunity.

Next slide. So how as a state do we mobilize around really making transition from high school diploma and HSC programs into credit-bearing college work, in addition to, of course like non-credit CTE programs and certificate programs, which are equally as important but are already accessible to students who don't have a high school diploma? I think really the question on the table that's provided the most barriers have been, how do students who are adults who are pursuing high school diplomas be able to seamlessly and easily access college credit pathways with all of the restrictions and barriers and financial challenges that those credit pathways put in front of them?

And so these two tools of ability to benefit and SB 554, we're going to review today and talk about how they both can be leveraged to support the students collectively and together. So we're going to start with ability to benefit. And Patti Bopko, the director of Financial Aid for Chaffey College will lead the way on that discussion. Patti .

Patti Bopko: Great. Wonderful. Well, Patti Bopko, director of Financial Aid at Chaffey College. I'm so glad to be here sharing information on how we can continue to connect support programs like financial aid for our students and close opportunity gaps for them. This morning, I think I'll provide you some information on ATB and how we can expand financial aid through ability to benefit and eligible career pathways.

So our ability to benefit is a way for adult learners without high school diplomas to receive federal financial aid. And so what is ATB? What is ability to benefit? Ability to benefit is an alternative path that was established many years ago to increase federal student aid financial aid eligibility for students who do not possess a high school diploma or the equivalent.

And these are the ATB alternatives in which students could become eligible for federal student aid. One of them is by passing an approved ability to benefit test such as Accuplacer, which was used for assessment. But with initiatives like AB 705, that pretty much has been removed. So the next option would be for students to complete six degree applicable credits towards a degree or a certificate, or students can complete a state process approved by the Secretary of State state-defined process. And so then students must also be enrolled in an eligible career pathway.

Next slide. So here's an evolution of ATB. And with this timeline, it shows you that since the 1990s, it has evolved. It has evolved over time, and it shows how we can continue to help students without a high school diploma by using ATB. So in 1991, students without a high school diploma were allowed to receive financial aid if they passed the ability to benefit test, which require passing-- it's an independently administered test.

In 1992, a new option became available through a state-defined approved process. And in 1995, the Department of Education published regulations on a state-defined process. In 2008, is when the new option came through that students could take six degree applicable credits and become eligible for financial aid. But then in 2012, there was the elimination of ATB if a student-- and students who did not have a high school diploma were not enrolled prior to July 1 2012, they would not become eligible for financial aid.

And this elimination of ATB basically added additional inequities and unnecessary barriers on students who are low-income students and who do not have a high school diploma. And how could they advance if they don't have the financial support in order to continue their education? But then in 2015, this changed quickly. Sorry, just a little bit more. In 2015, the provisions changed by allowing students without a high school diploma to become eligible for financial aid through a combination of the ability to benefit test and alternatives.

But this once again opened the door for students to were enrolled in career pathways. So that's the key. So there is confusion. That's the confusion that it has changed so many times. And that has caused confusion, and as a result, under-utilization of how ATB can still be used in order for students to become eligible for financial aid.

So really, students can begin with the promise of eligibility by completing those six credits while they're adult learners and working on their GED or high school diploma. And after completing those six credits, they would become eligible for financial aid. OK, next. So really, what benefits do people receive? Federal student aid because they students would be eligible not only for Federal Pell Grant, but also, all the types of federal aid and state aid to help pay for the post-secondary education of adult learners and living expenses as well.

And so this allows for students to enroll in post-secondary education without the requirement to first obtain a high school diploma by completing those credits and become eligible after. I think I'm going to turn it to Naomi.

Naomi Castro: Yeah, great. Thank you so much Patti. That was fantastic. And I have to say, it's just so, so nice to have somebody who is so knowledgeable about financial aid really just in on this conversation. It's really exciting.

And often, we've had some crazy experiences as practitioners trying to get students ATB, especially in the last couple of years, because it went away. It went away for a while, so many financial aid offices across the state just think like, oh, is that even possible anymore? So it's going to take a real effort on all our parts to just help folks like, no, no, no, this is here, we can use it.

And especially if we think about the pandemic and who the most disaffected workers have been, like who's bearing the brunt of a lot of the economic disparity that we've seen? So adults can really save a lot of time with ATB. I don't know about all of you on the line-- actually, if you have some stories or a couple of sentences, you can drop them in the chat.

I'm sorry I have to shut my door. You can hear my dog going crazy. I apologize. This is the reality of Zoom life. OK, so if you have any stories, you can drop them in the chat too. But a lot of students who don't have a high school diploma, they're trying to continue their high school diploma, they do it, they might pick up a college class or two. And as we've said, we've been very clear, like unless you have that high school diploma, you were not eligible for financial aid unless you do ATB.

So what will we find over and over and over again is students will try to keep up a class or two in college while they're working, while they're working on their high school equivalency or their GED. And it's just too much to juggle. And just that little boost, that boost of a Pell Grant can really help somebody to actually stick with it and be able to finish. So if they have federal financial aid, students are just more likely to succeed.

And they also maintain catalog rights. So what happens is they'll take a class, and then they'll disenroll for one semester. And then they'll go back in, but guess what? When you do that, you have new catalog rights. So here we go. A Pell Grant right now. We're hoping this goes up, but it's about $1,600 a semester.

So that would be like if you were working a job that pays a little over $12 an hour, that's like 134 hours in a semester. That's like one full time day of working over a 16-week semester. That can be incredibly helpful. So let's go on to the next slide, please.

So again, who qualifies? So if you are a student or if you're an individual and you do not have your high school diploma or an equivalency and, as Patti had said too, if you pass an exam. We have these exams. There's things like Accuplacer or Compass, Next-Gen. There's a list right.

But California community colleges have moved away from these kinds of exams. Other folks still do them, but we don't. Oh, Kathleen, catalog rights. I'm going to take a quick segue and explain catalog rights. So when you're pursuing a degree or certificate, there's the college catalog for the year you start. And that says all the requirements. You have to take A, B, and C, and then you have this awesome certificate or this degree.

But those requirements change sometimes. Often, for CTE, they change more often because we want to keep up with labor market needs and what the industry says. So as long as you're continuously enrolled-- if I started in 2000, I've got catalog rights from 2000. If the program changes, I still get to do what the 2000 catalog said unless I stop taking classes continuously. And that's what our students do.

So a certificate or a degree requirement will change. They stop taking classes for a semester. They come back, and now, maybe some of the classes that they already have taken don't count anymore. That's a bummer. That is such a bummer. You don't want to be the adult or the college employee having those conversations with the student. It's demoralizing.

So we want to keep them continuously enrolled if they know what their plan is. And a Pell Grant can help to do that. So individuals who lack a high school diploma, we can have them pass an exam and say they earn a certain score on there, they qualify. Or if you don't have that exam set up for them or they don't want to take an exam, they can take, on their own dime, six credits, so about two college classes. And that will qualify them.

They have to be in the pathway. Oh, thank you, Neal. That's great. They have to be credit-bearing classes. This is fantastic, take a couple of classes. But it's kind of a bummer because they have to take those classes before we'll give them Pell Grant eligibility.

Now there's other ways we can help pay for that. We can help pay for it with adult dual enrollment, a college could do an adult promise. There's all kinds of things that they could potentially do, but a lot of that depends on our savviness as practitioners. Students don't know this intricate kind of web of potential funding.

The other way that they could also be eligible is if the state itself has a defined process that's a different kind of eligibility for ATB. And California doesn't have one yet, but I know that the Chancellor's Office is interested in this, and that they've been talking about it. So that's something that we want to continue working on.

So let's go to the next one. So mostly, what we're looking at is we're looking at a test, which we don't really like so much, or six units. And to meet these requirements, the student has to-- this is a little bit redundant, but they have to have been either-- to get financial aid federally, they have a degree or a GED or they're in this eligible career pathway. That's what we want. We want them in a career pathway.

And then they have to be enrolled for the degree or certificate. They have to have a Social Security number. So this is only open to students who have that, be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen, and not be in default. So there we go. Let's go on to the next slide.

Oh, great questions. Great questions in the chat. So what makes a career pathway? Oh, my gosh, we have so many definitions. So we have local definitions. High schools often define it in a certain way. We could cast a very wide net. But for our purposes, for ATB, we're really looking at the WIOA definition. It's aligned with HEA. It's aligned with Perkins V.

And there's seven basic elements. And so when I list these elements, I'm hoping that a lot of folks are just going to nod their heads like, oh, yeah, of course, ours does that. Of course, it does that. So it has to be aligned with economic skills needs, state level needs, regional needs. It has to prepare a person for a full range of educational experiences, so a wide range, so from an entry level position all the way to a terminal degree in that field or a terminal certificate and the higher levels.

It has to include educational counseling and career counseling. Like, oh, yeah, that's right. We do that. It has to integrate foundational occupational education, and it's organized for acceleration. One thing I know for sure is our community colleges, we are totally obsessed with trying to design things so that they're efficient and so students don't waste units. So we have certificates nested inside of larger certificates nested inside of degrees and sometimes those degrees transfer. And all of that is organized-- that is organized in a way to accelerate students through.

And here's a kicker. It enables students to attain a secondary and post-secondary credential at the same time. And so that means close partnership with that adult school, close partnership with the program that is offering the high school equivalency. And then it helps them advance-- if we're doing all of this well, then we are helping this student to advance in an occupation.

So now you might be saying, I'm reading your mind, you might be saying, OK, I've got all of this, I think our pathways do this, how do we make sure our pathways are good enough? How do we make sure they qualify, they're eligible? Next slide has some great news. You get to decide that. Your institution gets to decide that.

So there's no external certification body. The Chancellor's Office or the state of California or the federal government doesn't come in and say, yes, you meet 1, 2, and 3, but you don't meet 4. No, it's up to us as institutions to say, yes, our career pathways meet all of these requirements. This is an eligible career pathway. To me, that's like the absolute best.

Oh, I see. Yeah, you guys have been-- the chat's alive. Thank you all so much. But with that, I am going to pass it on to Laura.

Laura Alvarado: Thank you, Naomi. You always make it so clear and simple and exciting to do this work. So here we go. We're going to talk about this gap. So what's the gap? It falls in this eligibility criteria. So Naomi made a comment about how it's just too much for these students to struggle going to school, trying to work, trying to take care of families, trying to take care of themselves, and they're doing it on their own dime. So SB 554 is here to fill that gap.

But a key word in this is partnership, echoing again a word Naomi used. It's a partnership between the colleges, our financial aid offices, our students, and most important our adult schools. So SB 554, this is the link. SB 554 is dual enrollment legislation that was passed in October of 2019. So we just hit our two-year mark. This is basically a replica of high school dual enrollment that is now applicable in an equity measure to our high school students who are also adults.

So what does this do? SB 554 authorizes a student who's enrolled in their high school diploma or equivalency program to be determined as a special part-time admit in a community college. So this term special part-time admit is what allows the colleges to process these students through as dual enrollment and provide funding and resources.

So what does it mean to be a special part-time admit? Well, here are some key things. As a special part-time, part-time being the key word here, a student can take up to 11 units for either zero or very minimal costs. So the $46 a unit, that piece is waived, but any residual college fees, that's a local decision if those can be waived.

So here at our college, solely for purposes of equity and access, we have waived all of those fees. Additionally, we use CAEP funding and other grants to cover the books for these students. So an adult school student in our district who's attending Chaffey College pays zero fees.

Back to that partnership piece, we need to confirm that these students are in fact enrolled in the adult school. So we work very closely with the adult school on servicing these students and receiving that eligibility-- excuse me, verification. But that partnership also expands to counseling for the students to making sure that the students are taking the classes that they need perhaps for their HST or prepping for the GED, or simply if they're looking at some CTE or focusing on their defined career pathway. So we have our Chaffey College counselors available as well.

On the college side, there's a benefit to this, of serving our students, is that we receive enhanced apportionment. So this is about a third higher base than-- we get about a third higher than the base traditional credit students. These units that are earned, this is where those six units can come in. Students can be duly enrolled through an adult school and a college, receive those six units, not on their own dime, and now it moves them into that eligibility for ATB.

There's another little piece here that I saw in the chat they were talking about is what about our undocumented students. Well, this is one of the key pieces of this legislation of SB 554. And while it doesn't meet the needs here because our ATB students do need to be US citizens or eligible non-residents, an undocumented student is eligible to become a special part-time admit if they are duly enrolled in their adult school and with the community college.

So this pathway how is this going to work? So a student enrolled in the adult school, we partner with them. We provide counseling services. We provide careers services. We provide tutoring. We can provide additional resources like food pantry, honors programs, CalWORKs, different mechanisms that student now has access to at the college. So we're partnering with the adult school in transitioning them, what they're duly enrolled from the adult school into the college.

As Matt said earlier, they're more likely to complete their high school diploma. They're more likely to complete their GED. They're more likely to receive and to move through the systems and transition to community college. And because of the organization of our certificates and degrees, as Naomi spoke of, that student can build upon that college pathway. They could have build upon their goals.

They can go into the workforce because maybe they've earned some certificates in welding, they've earned an HPAC, they're moving into electricity, logistics, English, whatever it is that's going to move them down that pathway. Free tuition, they meet the eligibility for ATB. So now they're receiving, if they're going part time with an adult enrollment, about $3,600 a year. When we transition them to become a full-time student, so now they have received that high school diploma or the equivalency, they can be earning about $6,500 a year using ATB, again, and now they're supported with all these additional college services.

So this is that link, the link between the adult school to the college to ATB that ties it all together to move that student, that individual, that family into not only a living wage but into a thriving wage. And that is it. Are there any questions that we can answer here in the chat? You can also unmute. If somebody would like to, you're welcome to unmute yourself if you have questions for us.

Annabelle Rodriguez: I have a question. I'll just unmute myself because I'm not able to type this morning. So there was just a webinar presentation just earlier that ended at 10:30 or 10:00 around dual enrollment and board policies that have to be presented to at the community college on the community college side. Is ATB-- does there have to be a board policy at the college to enact this, or is it simply within the realm of the financial aid office? So what would be some beginning steps that you would recommend to begin this?

Laura Alvarado: You want me to answer that, or Patti would you like to jump in there?

Patti Bopko: Sure, we could do it together. We are actually working on creating a board policy because it's necessary since it's something that it really-- it's an institutional policy. We want to have something. Like Naomi mentioned, the Department of Education doesn't say we're going to approve you. It's something that we want to make sure that we have it as procedures that this is what we're going to be following to back us up, to justify or validate that procedure.

Laura Alvarado: Recently, back to this partnership, our authors worked very closely with Patti. She's gracious enough to allow us to come in and offer any guidance that we can. So we created a very brief foreign policy. Well, we just basically added ATB into the language, but then it was going into Patti and the financial aid policies where we really detailed how this would work and the career pathway requirements.

Matthew Morin: Yeah, just to piggyback on that, if you want to think about it in two ways, just from our sort of drilling down, it might save you guys some time, the policy piece, we kept a really broad just basically indicator that we are an ability to benefit eligible college, and we have an ability to benefit process. So that's at the board policy level.

And then at the process level for the office of financial aids internal process documents, that's where we got into the weeds of like what constitutes a career pathway, how students are chosen for that so that the board policy can still sit at a very broad level and pivot with whatever changes might occur with federal legislation over time, but that the internal process documents for financial aid, that auditors would also look at, we're still doing our due diligence and that's written out prescriptively and with more specificity.

Patti Bopko: Yeah, and I think to add to what Laura said, I had my policy already, my policies and procedures, and just reviewing the current policy, removing some of maybe older language that we had and then just adding this piece so that it creates, I don't know, more of a clearer picture of how to operationalize it.

Matthew Morin: And just to be clear, I don't know if it was really-- we haven't identified any community college that is actively using a career pathway in our investigation and research with Career Ladders Project and others. So if you know of any community college that is doing a career pathway oriented ATB, that would be great. Let us know.

We want to partner and lift this up because I think it's been a resource that's underutilized because there's been a lot of fear and confusion about those career pathways and how to move forward as a college. But once you dip your toe in the water, it's warmer than you might think. It's not really that-- I don't know about this analogy, but anyway.

Euline Olinger: Matt, it's Euline Olinger, Mendocino-Lake. I have a question on just really starting that conversation at our college in providing and creating policies and steps and guidelines from the SB 554 then to ATB, just like how you outlined the connection there. So how did you guys begin that conversation?

I know we're both at the community college, and then I know that the adult school, they're all for this. And yet, I think for us, we're really lagging behind in that we don't know how to start this conversation with their admissions or their records. How did you guys start with that?

Matthew Morin: I think any of us could-- we've all been pretty active. I'll just say my part. Start with knocking on a door. Start with a phone call. That really is the best way to just get started, is just to build that personal relationship, making sure that there's some meetings that are really like-- maybe not face to face, but maybe in Zoom face to face so that you begin to know all of the partners. Laura, I feel like you probably have-- Laura and Patti both of you guys probably have a lot of insight into that.

Laura Alvarado: If I can clarify, are you referring to using SB 554 towards ATB or starting the SB 554 conversation?

Euline Olinger: I think both. So if the SB 554, if that's where it should start because we're at the community college and we do have partnership with our adult schools, maybe start with that, and then later on-- but knowing that there's ATB as well. So I don't know if even our admissions and record knows this Senate bill and this bill has been passed and has been for a few years that it's been there and not implement it.

Laura Alvarado: So that SB 554 conversation can be a little bit difficult because the first question is, well, why not use Cal Promise, BOG waiver? Let's use that. How this conversation got started at Chaffey's, we ran some co-located adult school-- excuse me, college classes on adult school campus. And we attempted to use, at the time then, BOG waiver. I think it was still called that then.

And we found a lot of resistance. We had a pilot group of 51 students, and only 35% were willing to complete the BOG waiver for a variety of reasons. And we had a few undocumented students in there, but just a small handful. Many of them, it was intimidating. They weren't comfortable filling out FAFSA, particularly because they're aware they didn't have the HST, HSC and assumed that they could not receive it.

We had mixed-status families. While they themselves were eligible as a US citizen, they may have recent relatives or close relatives that were not. So that was a little bit threatening to them and a variety of other reasons. So that's where we really started that conversation when we saw in our data what the assumed resources they weren't accessible to the student for a variety of barriers.

And then that's really where Matt took it and started planning for the SB 554 because we have this tool, this resource that we're using for high school students. And this in fact, our adult school students are high school students. The main difference is the age. The why is very different. There's a more, opinion here, of a moral imperative to serve our adult school students and move them and provide these tools for them because it has an immediate effect on themselves and their families just a very different way.

So I think part of it is really trying to pin down what that why is for yourself to be able to articulate that and then moving in with those conversations because otherwise, it might just be that presumptive use Cal Promise.

Patti Bopko: Thank you, Laura.

Laura Alvarado: I hope that answers your question.

Euline Olinger: It helps to think through. It's like so why are we going to use SB 554? Why not Cal Promise? And also it helps to define-- the community college, I think, when we think of dual enrollment, we think of the 17-year-old, the 16-year-old that is dual enrolled, what we call middle college here in our area. But not a lot of our college colleagues really know that there is dual enrollment and that is called SB 554 for adult learners. And I think that's an education to get the word out there and to begin that conversation of this is what we're talking about. So thank you.

Laura Alvarado: There is a triangulation here. It's really building-- think of the student and the adult school in the center, but it's the college working-- your particular office working close with admissions and then already starting to build that bridge with financial aid because those are the key resources that will be needed to build this, to take it all the way through from where you are now to that ATB eligibility and funding for the student.

Patti Bopko: I think for me, I'll take my example. So Matt and Laura just approached me. And I know there's still confusion about ATB, but I think it's just-- at least for me, I just took some time to acknowledge and say, wow, we've been using just this timeline the way we've been using it. And so just help me dig a little deeper on the actual regulation and what we can and cannot do. And I think just building that partnership and conversations.

I know how it can be with financial aid because we're so highly regulated. But if we have the information that can validate to open this and make this a policy and access to our students, then why not? For me, my example is just that they just knocked on my door and just talked about it and just helped me get more information and how we can make this happen.

Naomi Castro: I'd actually like to add in. So I think everyone's going to get a copy of these slides, but I think that one slide, in particular, that showed like-- it was like the timeline, but the timeline is not straight, and there's lots of detail on there. Printing that out, and if you are in-person or if you're not sending a PDF to the folks in your financial aid office, the financial aid director, and saying, whoa, check this out, do we still use ATB? Did we use to?

It would really help students if we could get that going again. And that's an assumption that it stopped. Maybe it is going steady, but maybe you have an opportunity to scale it. I even think that graphic would be an excellent way to start that conversation because it's like just this is a learning process. And there was a lot of confusion over this. Let's work together and try and roll it out so students can benefit.

Matthew Morin: There is a question in the chat from Neil about SB 68 and AB 540, which I think is somewhat important to address, because there have been questions about, well, what about students who are non-residents or undocumented and about the fact that ATB is not an eligible program for them to enroll in, but SB 554 for is for waiving tuition for non-residents and undocumented students. There becomes a point at which a student completes their high school diploma or high school equivalency with an adult school, and then they get bumped into a different first time college student enrollment status at the college. And if they are undocumented, there are a number of barriers for obtaining financial aid at the community college.

And there's a whole host of pathways that colleges can use to hack that and open up doors for undocumented students. One of which is AB 540 and then an affiliated piece of legislation, SB 68. But if we're honest, those two pathways still present enormous challenges to most undocumented students or potential students. And so there are a number of working groups right now in the state working on trying to reform those pieces of legislation to open the gates wider so that they're eligible to students who have not only completed two plus years in a high school or 420 hours times 3 at an adult school.

We won't get into the details of SB 68 and AB 540, but hopefully, we can, in this next legislative cycle or the next one after that, make it so that those two pathways are a lot more accessible for undocumented students because it's true, if they enroll in SB 554 and they're making progress towards degree in a credit pathway, and then all of a sudden, they hit the wall of AB 540 or SB 68, which won't let them in and continue their progress towards degree, then that's a huge problem because we're setting them up for failure on the front end.

Naomi Castro: I guess I'm curious to hear from the practitioners on the line, like can you think of examples-- can you think of specific students-- you don't have to share their names, but can you think of specific students who might work with right now that this might be helpful for them either adult dual enrollment or ATB or a combination?

Matthew Morin: I know there's some people in here who I know personally who are working on this, but I don't want to call them out.

Naomi Castro: We can see your names. We can call-- no, I'm teasing. I'm teasing.

Ute: Hi. This is Ute from San Diego East Region Adult Education. We implemented SB 554 also successfully because of many conversations with you in Chaffey College, especially Matt. We have students now in SB 554 for who tell us straightforwardly, I would never have joined college, I would never have even attended high school diploma programs at the adult school had it not been for this program.

This allowed me to check out college, accomplish in a really accelerated manner some goals I always had, but now I know what it's for. Now I can go into an occupation faster. Now I know who I am as a person. So the growth, the personal growth that comes about because of SB 554 is truly amazing. And it also encourages ESL students to get out of the ESL programs and into, in a way, experiencing college without so much at stake.

So for those who are slightly on the fence, SB 554 is beautiful. And then we have some undocumented or someone who doesn't have resident status yet to whom it's also beneficial. It works. It works really well. It draws in students we would never have seen otherwise in adult education.

Maria Lopez: If I can share, my name is Maria Lopez. I am a transitions counselor for San Bernardino Valley College, and I work with mostly three of the adult schools in our region. We have five total. And SB 554 is something that we are about to start implementing in the spring. And I'm super excited about it because for those who are completing high school diploma this academic year and are enrolling in SB 554, they are technically not starting their financial aid clock, if you will, because SB 554 is paying for their units.

Not only that, we're offering courses that will help them. It's a guidance course. We call them student development courses. So those courses will help them in essence figure out what career path they want to begin with, which helps them sort out what kind of things they can do in college and learn really the college experience.

Matthew Morin: Yeah, that's actually a great place to start if you want to think about what next, after those students complete-- because you talked about their clock. After they complete six units, maybe through those career development courses for the students who are Pell eligible, you could offer them-- if your college creates that ATB pathway, that would be an opportunity for you to offer them that additional Pell funding to help support their total cost to education as well. So that's exciting.

And Ute, I need to give you a shout out because she was immensely helpful in actually making sure that SB 554 came into fruition because we ran into-- there were a lot of political potholes along the way. And there were various points at which practitioners and advocates sort of lobbied and stepped in, and she was really helpful, got together a lot of people to really help out when some things happen.

Maria Lopez: Thank you. And definitely, I will be going to my financial aid office next week talking about ATB.

Matthew Morin: I bet they know you well.

Maria Lopez: I think so.

Laura Alvarado: I think I would ask as you reflect on this, think, OK, ATB's the end goal, who in your college can be those advocates for you? Is it your high school dual enrollment office? Is it your adult ed office, your admissions officers, counselors, directors, and then who above them is going to come in and really be that champion for you? That's I think back to the original question is, how did we get started or where do you start?

It's finding those key folks that are willing to go in and say, yes, absolutely, because in building this process, it takes a village. It definitely takes the village, but having those key folks in the adult ed office and maybe even going and learning more about how dual enrollment works on the high school side and somewhat partnering with them. So I would ask everybody if you're interested in this, in using SB 554, start with who can you identify, who can you identify as some of those go to people, and how would you start that conversation, or what do you need, what data do you need from your school to start that conversation.

So Annabelle, you asked what does the financial aid office have to do on their end to implement this? So on the SB 554 side, it really is the admissions office, but bringing in financial aid at some point, making sure that they knew-- having Patti on to let her know what we were doing and knowing that when we're moving into that ATB space that she has a clear understanding already of what and how SB 554 works particularly because of the waiving of the fees. They're not using financial aid in the traditional sense under SB 554. So it's making all the key players just know what's happening, but on that onset of SB 554, it is all admissions.

Matthew Morin: And something that we found valuable in financial aid, because financial aid offices have a point people to work with students on AB 540 and SB 68 or even like the six-unit waiver for undocumented students, any of those programs that live in financial aid that have classified staff members who work with the students who enter into those programs, it's really valuable for them to know about SB 554 because of the fact that even though SB 554 is not a financial aid program, those individuals are meeting with students who sometimes they have to turn away because they're not eligible for AB 540 or SB 68. And if they don't know about SB 554, then that's an opportunity that might be missed.

Laura Alvarado: Patti, can you share what information would be needed to move into that ATB space, what do you need on the financial aid side and what data might they need from the adult side partners?

Patti Bopko: Probably what I'm thinking is students who already applied for financial aid. Well, one side, I think we have students who apply for financial aid and do not have a high school diploma or equivalent. I think it's also helpful to see what those numbers look like because those are some of our outreach that we could do to promote SB 554 to be able to help put this together. Is that what you're asking? I'm sorry.

Laura Alvarado: Annabelle, do you want to unmute yourself, and you could provide clarity.

Annabelle Rodriguez: Yeah, thanks. I wasn't sure if you were referring to my question. So on the-- oh, sorry. I was talking while I was muted. So on the financial aid side, as far as ATB, what do they have to do to enact this, to implement this? And how can adult ed partners make it easier?

Like I have this wonderful PowerPoint that's great, from a financial aid perspective, what else might you need from me to move this along? And what does that actually look like at the financial aid office? Do they have to get approval? Does the college have say-so whether they approve ATB or not, or is this just part of an educational right that a college has that a school has to implement? I know that was multiple questions. I hope that made sense.

Patti Bopko: Oh, that's OK. Matt and Laura were still trying to figure out what will that look like for us and how to operationalize it. Currently, we have students who apply for financial aid and do not have high school diplomas. So that's a good way for us to know, is typically, we reach out to students or students reach out to us to I don't have a high school diploma, and so this is the opportunity that we can offer.

But I think that typically having someone assigned to who would be having that connection between adult ed program and financial aid, it's always very helpful to be able to having someone like a point person to be able to have these connections and be able to work through this. We're still working through that process. Right now, if a student, let's say, has complete six degree applicable credits, let's just say, for example, that meets that criteria because they were enrolled in a program prior to July 1, 2012, we reached out to counseling. And we have a student who has indicated that they completed the six degree applicable credits, so then they let us know if they apply, and then we move forward.

So in the same way, we picture that we may operationalize this, that having that point person to be able to make sure that we are connected and creating that process. I hope that helped. We're still working through the processes with Matt and Laura and how we would do this

Matthew Morin: Yeah, and I think maybe one of the helpful things is we're pretty much done with our board policy language and the process walk through guidance in financial aid. So I think if you wanted to reach out, we could share that with you. And I think that's the best way to be able to address your financial aid director, is to say, this is what Chaffey put together, how does this look to you? And then also your director can reach out to Patti because they all have a network that they can lean on each other for.

Euline Olinger: Yeah, that's really awesome actually, Patti, having your counterpart at other colleges. And so is it OK if you share copies of both your ATB policy and your adult dual enrollment? Happy to reach out to you, Matt, or Laura for that.

Matthew Morin: Yeah, we'll get it together in a format that we can provide to you guys. Feel free to shoot, Laura. I don't know if our contact information is in the chat.

Laura Alvarado: Our emails are at the very end, but we can put it in...

Euline Olinger: It's on the slide deck also.

Matthew Morin: Right on.

Patti Bopko: And just to add, I think that having a policy procedure already on ATB on the old way, bringing this new, or not new but unused piece that we want to implement is just an additional, oh, OK, here's another way that we can continue with our process. And so I think that's where it became easier for me having a policy already to just incorporate this part right here and how we can partnership and keep that partnership with adult program.

Matthew Morin: And full disclosure, a lot of financial aid regional consortia or meetings, we've learned from Patti, there's still a perception that ATB career pathways aren't really an eligible program to implement for colleges. So it is likely that your financial aid director may say, sorry, that's not really allowable. And I think that's where the conversation with Patti comes in because we've really cleared this. We've cleared the way, not just at our college but with partners like CLP, Naomi, and then our international partners like Clasp and World Ed.

We've been to Washington DC and talked to the folks in the Federal Pell offices down there. So we're really allowed to do it, for real.

Patti Bopko: I like Naomi said about the timeline because when I saw that timeline, I was a bit shocked because all along, I knew about the 2012. That's what my policy said, and that's what we were following, I remember about 2015, but again, it didn't seem like it apply to our colleges. And I think speaking as a network, it didn't seem like that would align with what our community colleges.

And I think that going through that career path programs and the seven elements really helped me when I talked to Matt and Laura just really make it as just thinking of, wow, that's the approach that it is ATB. There's no doubt about it. The more I learn, the more I read about it, I think it helped me to feel more at ease that this is OK. It's permissible, and so we just have to figure out how.

Laura Alvarado: Patti, I'm going to jump in real quick here. Naomi Castro from Career Ladders Project, I know she needs to sign off. Naomi is a leader amongst leaders, particularly on these topics that most students forward, which is the goal for all of us. So thank you, Naomi, for joining us today and for offering your brilliance and sharing it with us. So thank you. And if anybody has any other follow up questions for Naomi, her information is also on that slide. But we'll be able to continue our conversation here for a few more minutes.

Naomi Castro: Thank you so much. I appreciate all the work that you are all doing. Thank you so much, and all love to Chaffey College, groundbreaking work you guys are doing. Thanks.

Matthew Morin: Thank you, Naomi. I also want to open the door to anybody else who wants to leave. We've given you back some time in your life to go get lunch, and if you do have questions, feel free to ask. But for our purposes, thank you so much for coming.

Laura Alvarado: Yes, but I do want to address Kathleen who had a question in here. And so she's asking if she's an adult school student and wants to come to a community college and use SB 554, how would she do that, what documentation? So this is an internal process that would need to be built first.

To give you an example of how Chaffey does it, on the back end, we have it connected. So when a student-- when they complete CCCApply, and they choose their enrollment status. They choose enrolling in adult school authorized to attend college. So we have a trigger now that when a student selects that, they are moved into basically a holding place that from there, will trigger all their fees to be waived.

And we do it electronic enrollment forms. So we have the classes that they can take on form, or they can apply through admissions. It's all automated on our side. So Kathleen it's an undertaking. So if anybody is interested on that process these part, I can send you information. You can contact me. Again, as I said earlier, it takes a village. It also takes a village on the internal piece to build that all the way to connecting it to the MIS code. Absolutely, please feel free to contact me, and I can share that with you.

Marjorie: All right, I can leave the room open a little bit for questions if anyone wants to hang around. In the meantime, I'm going to go ahead and do my closing remarks if that's OK. I put the evaluation link in the chat. So please make sure you fill that out. As a reminder, all the resources that were shared throughout today's conference can be found under the Resource section of the vFairs' platform landing page. You're welcome to add all of those resources to your swag bag or email them to a colleague.

The session was recorded. So you'll be able to access this recording and all other sessions on the vFairs' platform through the end of the year once those are posted. You can locate those in the agenda. There'll be a button labeled Recording. Remediating recordings will be added to the CA adult ed website in the new year. And all registrants will be notified by email and via the newsletter.

OK, so with that, like I said, I'll just stop the recording. If there's any questions, I don't know if the presenters want to hang out or if you just wanted me to close the room out. I'm going to go ahead and stop the recording, though. Thanks, everybody, for coming. The next sessions, I believe, start at 1 o'clock. So have a great lunch.

Laura Alvarado: Thank you, Marjorie, for your help.

Matthew Morin: Thank you, Marjorie.