Vocational Education

Status in 2-Year Colleges in 1990-91 and Early Signs of Change Gao ID: HRD-93-89 August 16, 1993

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990 seek to improve the overall quality of vocational education and ensure that all students, including targeted groups, such as the disabled, have access to vocational education programs. Although the Perkins Act provides only about 10 percent of vocational education funding nationwide, many vocational education experts view it as a driving force in setting national vocational education priorities. The law requires GAO to undertake two four-year studies--one of secondary schools and one of postsecondary schools--to identify changes that have taken place in vocational education programs since the amendments took effect. The reporting deadline is July 1995. This interim report provides preliminary information on the status of postsecondary vocational programs in 1990-91 and changes reported in the first year under the amendments.

GAO found that: (1) most 2-year colleges implemented quality vocational education approaches and other improvements in academic year 1990 through 1991; (2) the number of colleges that received funding did not significantly change; (3) the number of vocational programs within colleges declined slightly; (4) most colleges did not have documentation to support their funding allocations; (5) some targeted groups were more likely to enroll in vocational education than nontargeted students; (6) over 70 percent of the colleges expanded supportive services to targeted groups in response to legislative amendments; and (7) college-level program assessments were limited by a lack of standards and incomplete placement data.

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