Ability to Benefit Action Lab

Ability to Benefit can help students without a high school diploma or equivalency qualify for federal financial aid for postsecondary career pathways programs. This virtual action lab, held in partnership with Education Strategy Group, focused on leveraging ATB to expand access to postsecondary education.


Welcome & Overview of Agenda

Ability to Benefit 101

  • Judy Mortrude, World Education
  • Introduction: Brenda Dann-Messier, ESG

Implementation Exemplars

  • Nicole Hopkins and Will Durden, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
  • Laurie Kierstead-Joseph , Pima Community College
  • Moderator: Rachel Hirsch, NGA

Breakout Discussion: Decision Points and Priorities

Participants self-selected into one of four breakout sessions designed to advance ATB through action. In addition, participants considered how to scale best practices, and how to use ATB as a tool in recovery and to address racial and gender inequity.

  • Group 1 – Creating Eligible Programs
  • Group 2 – Engaging Institutional Stakeholders
  • Group 3 – Enhancing State-level planning
  • Group 4 – Forging Partnerships

Summary and Next Steps

  • Jack Warner, ESG
  • Amanda Winters, NGA

This action lab was supported by the Siemens Foundation.

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