Bill S621-2013

Allows college coursework to be credited as a work activity which may be used toward fulfilling the employment requirements for public assistance benefits

Allows college coursework to be credited as a work activity which may be used toward fulfilling the employment requirements for public assistance benefits under certain conditions.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES
  • Feb 28, 2013: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Social Services - Feb 28, 2013
Ayes (2): Sanders, Squadron
Ayes W/R (3): Smith, Farley, Martins
Nays (1): Ball

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S621

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to access to a college education by public assistance recipients who are subject to work participation requirements

PURPOSE: Allows individuals receiving public assistance to be able to pursue a college education. Allows college course work to be credited as a work activity, which can be used toward fulfilling the employment requirements for public assistance benefits. Also changes the amount of time that a participant in a vocational school can spend in preparation for a GED from 25% to 50%.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends five different parts of section 336-a of the social services law, as amended by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997.

Subdivision 1 is amended to add four year colleges to the list of eligible educational activities.

Subdivision 2 is amended to increase the amount of time participants in vocational schools devote to preparation for a high school equivalency diploma from 25% of their time to 50%.

Subdivision 3 is amended to direct the state commissioner of education to establish a minimum standard of educational services for programs in which recipients will participate. Subparagraph (b) of subdivision 4 is amended by providing circumstances when educational activities are not required for 18 and 19 year-olds. This section requires the social services district to document why 18 and 19 year-olds are not required to participate in an educational activity. Adds a new subdivision 7, which allows participants to count post-secondary education in a four year college, to satisfy work activity requirements. The local districts shall count each hour of classroom participation as work activity, as well as counting reasonable study time and class preparation. No social services district can assign a participant to any activities that would interfere with their educational program if the participant is enrolled at least part-time in a post secondary program and has at least a cumulative C average or its equivalent. A social services district may waive the cumulative C average requirement for circumstances where an undue hardship exists.

EXISTING LAW: Currently, educational activities do not include four year colleges.

JUSTIFICATION: Higher education is a path to self-sufficiency. By assisting individuals to gain greater access to higher education they are given the opportunity to pursue professional career·s, instead of simply getting a job. It has been shown through numerous reports that simply

obtaining employment does not significantly help an individual to overcome financial hardship. Individuals with minimum education and low skilled jobs are the first to be laid off during times of economic trouble. By allowing individuals to fulfill their TANF work requirements while pursuing a college degree, those individuals will be better equipped to compete in the labor market and have more opportunity for upward mobility.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.1062/A5256 - Referred to Social Services 2009-10: S.2162/A.10496 - Referred to Social Services/ Referred to Higher Education 2007-08: S.2478/A.3036 - Referred to Social Services/Children and Families/Referred to Social Services 2005-06: S.638/A.10651 2001-02: A.7286A/S.7313

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall become law, provided, however, that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rules or regulations necessary for the implementation of the foregoing section of this act on its effective date is authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 621 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to access to a college education by public assistance recipients who are subject to work participation requirements THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 336-a of the social services law, as amended by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: S 336-a. Educational activities. 1. Social services districts shall make available vocational educational training and educational activ- ities. Such activities may include but need not be limited to, high school education or education designed to prepare a participant for a high school equivalency certificate, basic and remedial education, education in English proficiency and no more than a total of [two] FOUR years of post-secondary education (or the part-time equivalent if full- time study would constitute an undue hardship) in any of the following providers which meet the performance or assessment standards established in regulations by the commissioner for such providers: a community college OR A TWO-YEAR COLLEGE, licensed trade school, registered busi- ness school, or a [two-year] FOUR-YEAR college; provided, however, that such post-secondary education must be necessary to the attainment of the participant's individual employment goal as set forth in the employabil- ity plan and such goal must relate directly to obtaining useful employ- ment in a recognized occupation. 2. When a district contracts with a proprietary vocational school to provide vocational educational training to participants, not more than [twenty-five] FIFTY percent of the approved duration of the program shall be devoted to preparation for a high school equivalency diploma or
instruction in English for students with limited proficiency in English. Participants needing instruction in basic literacy shall be referred to basic education programs. Instructors employed by proprietary schools to prepare a participant for a high school equivalency certificate or for education in English proficiency shall meet experience requirements established by the regulations of the commissioner of education. 3. When a participant is assigned to an appropriate vocational educa- tional or educational activity and such activity is available at no cost to the social services district through the school district or board of cooperative educational services in which the participant resides or through another agency or organization providing educational services WHICH MEET SUCH MINIMUM STANDARDS AS THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION SHALL ESTABLISH, the social services district shall refer the participant to such district, board, agency or organization. 4. To the extent provided in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this subdi- vision and if resources permit, each social services official shall assign to appropriate educational activities any participant who has not obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent: (a) In accordance with the provisions of this chapter, any such participant who is under age eighteen shall be required to attend educa- tional activities designed to prepare the individual for a high school degree or equivalency certificate. Participants who are not subject to compulsory school attendance requirements may be exempted from the requirements of this paragraph under criteria established by the depart- ment in consultation with the state education department and consistent with federal law and regulations. (b) Any such participant who is age eighteen or nineteen shall be assigned to educational activities, except that the district shall assign such participant to employment and/or other activities under this title if the district has determined that such alternative activities are consistent with the participant's employability plan and, pursuant to [department] OFFICE regulations, there has been a determination by the district based on such plan that educational activities are not [appropriate] REQUIRED for such participant TO OBTAIN THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NEEDED TO BE EMPLOYED IN THE OCCUPATION CHOSEN BY THE PARTICIPANT AS HIS OR HER EMPLOYMENT GOAL IN SUCH PLAN BECAUSE HE OR SHE HAS CLEARLY AND AFFIRMATIVELY DEMONSTRATED THAT HE OR SHE ALREADY POSSESSES SUCH KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS or that the participant has failed to [make good progress] MAINTAIN A CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT in such educational activities, EXCEPT WHERE UNDUE HARDSHIP RESULTING FROM THE DEATH OF A RELATIVE OF THE STUDENT, THE PERSONAL INJURY OR ILLNESS OF THE STUDENT, OR OTHER EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH FAILURE TO MAINTAIN A CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT. (c) Any such participant who is an adult in a two-parent family and is under age twenty-five may be required to participate in educational activities consistent with his or her employment goals set forth in the employability plan. (d) The social services official shall not assign a participant described in this subdivision to any activities which interfere with the educational activities assigned pursuant to such participant's employa- bility plan and described in this subdivision. 5. Any applicant for or recipient of public assistance pursuing VOCA- TIONAL EDUCATION OR EDUCATIONAL activities described in this [subdivi- sion] SECTION shall not be assigned to any other activity prior to conducting an assessment and developing an employability plan as prescribed in section three hundred thirty-five or three hundred thir-
ty-five-a of this title AND MAY BE ASSIGNED TO SUCH OTHER ACTIVITY ONLY IF SUCH INDIVIDUAL'S ASSESSMENT AND SUCH INDIVIDUAL'S EMPLOYABILITY PLAN WARRANT THE ASSIGNMENT TO SUCH OTHER ACTIVITY. Local social services districts may periodically reevaluate a participant's employment plan and make assignments to other work activities [in order to meet partic- ipation rates] NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION, giving due consideration to the participant's progress in the current, and if applicable, prior program. 6. Nothing required in this section shall be construed to supersede the eligibility requirements of teen parents as set forth in this chap- ter. 7. (A) IN ANY SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT IN WHICH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL OR STATE WORK ACTIVITY PARTICIPATION RATES WERE MET FOR THE PREVIOUS YEAR OR ARE PROJECTED WILL BE MET FOR THE CURRENT YEAR, PARTICIPANTS SHALL BE PERMITTED TO PURSUE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION, INCLUDING PARTIC- IPATION IN A FOUR YEAR PROGRAM, IN SATISFACTION OF THE WORK ACTIVITY REQUIREMENTS OF THIS TITLE. (B) WHEN A PARTICIPANT ENGAGES IN EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION IN FULL OR PARTIAL SATISFACTION OF HIS OR HER WORK REQUIRE- MENT, THE LOCAL DISTRICT SHALL COUNT EACH HOUR OF CLASSROOM PARTIC- IPATION AS WORK ACTIVITY AND SHALL ALSO COUNT THE TIME REASONABLY NECES- SARY FOR STUDY AND CLASS PREPARATION AS WORK ACTIVITY. FOR EACH HOUR OF CLASSROOM PARTICIPATION, THE TIME REASONABLY NECESSARY FOR STUDY AND CLASS PREPARATION SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE THE NUMBER OF SUPPLEMENTARY ASSIGNMENT HOURS REQUIRED BY STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS FOR EACH CREDIT HOUR IN A COURSE OF PROFESSIONAL OR HIGHER EDUCATION; PROVIDED THAT A DISTRICT MAY COUNT A LARGER NUMBER OF HOURS IF A PARTIC- IPANT DEMONSTRATES THAT HIS OR HER EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY REQUIRES A LARG- ER NUMBER OF HOURS FOR STUDY, PREPARATION OR OTHER SUPPLEMENTAL ACTIV- ITY. (C) A DISTRICT SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL SHALL NOT ASSIGN A PARTICIPANT DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDIVISION TO ANY ACTIVITIES WHICH INTERFERE WITH THE EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDIVISION. THE DISTRICT SHALL NOT ASSIGN ANY ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES TO A PARTICIPANT DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDIVISION WHO IS ENROLLED AT LEAST HALF-TIME IN A POST-SECONDARY PROGRAM AND HAS AT LEAST A CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT. THE DISTRICT MAY WAIVE THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE STUDENT HAVE AT LEAST A CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT FOR UNDUE HARDSHIP BASED ON (I) THE DEATH OF A RELATIVE OF THE STUDENT; (II) THE PERSONAL ILLNESS OR INJURY OF THE STUDENT; OR (III) OTHER EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law, provided, however, that effective immediate- ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rules or regulations necessary for the implementation of the provisions of this act on its effective date is authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.

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