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The Gap tuition Assistance Program (GAP) was established as part of the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund to provide funding to community colleges for need-based tuition assistance to applicants to enable completion of continuing education certificate training programs for in-demand occupations.
Eligibility for tuition assistance under this program shall be based on financial need. Criteria to be assessed in determining financial need shall include but is not limited to:
- The applicant's family income for the three months prior to the date of application
- The applicant's family size
- The applicant's county of residence
An applicant must also have a demonstrated capacity to achieve the following outcomes:
- The ability to complete an eligible certificate program
- The ability to enter a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree program for credit
- The ability to gain full-time employment
- The ability to maintain full-time employment over time
Applicants may be found eligible for partial or total tuition assistance. Only an applicant eligible to work in the United States shall be approved for tuition assistance under this program.
Eligibility for tuition assistance under this chapter shall be limited to persons earning incomes at or below two hundred and fifty percent of the federal poverty level as defined by the most recently revised poverty income guidelines published by the United States department of health and human services.
Costs of a certificate program eligible for coverage by tuition assistance shall include but are not limited to:
- Direct training costs
- Required books and equipment
- Fees including but not limited to fees for industry testing services and background check testing services
Costs of providing direct staff support services including but not limited to marketing, outreach, application, interview, and assessment processes. Eligible cost s for this purpose shall be limited to twenty percent of any allocation of monies to the two smallest community colleges, ten percent of any allocation of moneys to the two largest community colleges, and fifteen percent of any allocation of moneys to the remaining eleven community colleges. Community college size shall be determined based on the most recent three-year rolling average full-time equivalent enrollment.
Programs that meet the following criteria shall be eligible for assistance under this program:
- The program is not offered for credit, but is aligned with a certificate, diploma, or degree for credit, and does any of the following:
- Offers a state, national, or locally recognized certificate
- Offers preparation for a professional examination or licensure
- Provides endorsement for an existing credential or license
- Represents recognized skill standards defined by an industrial sector
- Offers a similar credential or training
- The program offers training or a credential in an in-demand occupation. In-demand occupations includes the following industries:
- Information technology
- Health care
- Advanced manufacturing
- Transportation and logistics
- Any other industry designated as in-demand by a regional advisory board
GAP Approved Programs - List of programs approved by the Department of Education
Requirements for Participation
An applicant for tuition assistance under this program will be required to complete an initial assessment administered by the community college receiving the application to determine the applicant's readiness to complete an eligible certificate program.
An applicant will be required to meet with a member of the staff for an eligible certificate program offered by the community college receiving the application. The staff member shall discuss the relevant industry, any applicable occupational research, and any applicable training relating to the eligible certificate program. The discussion shall include an evaluation of the applicant's capabilities, needs, family situation, work history, educational background, attitude and motivation, employment skills, vocational potential, and employment barriers. The discussion shall also include potential start dates, support needs, and other requirements for an eligible certificate program.
A participant in an eligible certificate program who receives tuition assistance will be required to do all of the following:
- Maintain regular contact with staff members for the certificate program to document the applicant's progress in the program
- Sign a release form to provide relevant information to community college faculty or case managers
- Discuss with staff members for the certificate program any issues that may impact the participant's ability to complete the certificate program, obtain employment, and maintain employment over time
- Attend all required courses regularly
- Meet with staff members for the certificate program to develop a job search plan