Education Department to offer aid for professional training partnerships

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The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company General Electric is shown at their subsidiary company GE Aviation in Santa Ana, California April 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake  - RTX2E4CA

General Electric plans to team science majors at Northeastern University with GE officials at jet engine facilities under a new education program from the Obama administration. Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

The U.S. Department of Education is providing $17 million in grants and loans to assist low-income students in enrolling in eight “nontraditional” training programs.

It is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to make college more accessible and affordable, as more jobs require workers to have some level of post-secondary education.

The new program will give $5 million in grants and $12 million in loans to as many as 1,500 students who will be placed in additional classes through nontraditional education providers.

General Electric, for example, plans to team science majors at Northeastern University with GE officials at jet engine facilities.

Students at the University of Texas-Austin will partner with the coding and software bootcamp MakerSquare to learn skills that will prepare them for work as mid-level software engineers.

“I’m thrilled that students will soon have access to these innovative programs, developed in partnership with colleges and new providers, with the help of federal financial aid,” Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said in a statement.

Tuesday’s announcement opens the door to for-profit companies becoming more involved in postsecondary education and the federal financial aid model.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has presented a similar plan on the campaign trail, proposing $10 billion in federal funding for students to enroll in alternative postsecondary courses.

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