Under New Administration Rules, Welfare Recipients Will Not Be Permitted to Enroll in College If They Want to Retain Benefits

New regulations governing welfare recipients issued by the Bush administration could sharply reduce the number of low-income people who are able to enroll in high education. The new rules require states to move more quickly to transfer people from the welfare rolls to payrolls. Previously, welfare recipients could still qualify for benefits if they were enrolled in higher education instead of working. But under the new regulations, welfare recipients will be allowed to continue to receive benefits for one year only if they are enrolled in vocational training but not in undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Associate degree programs at community colleges would be permitted but only if the student was enrolled in a program that trained him or her for a specific vocation.

Since blacks are disproportionately poor, these new rules may have a severe damaging impact on black enrollments in higher education.