News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Hicks Takes on New Education Position
Elizabeth "Betsy" Hicks has resigned from one job at the Department of Education and accepted another.
Ms. Hicks will leave her position as the deputy assistant secretary for student financial assistance as soon as her successor is named, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley announced Oct. 27. But she will stay on Mr. Riley's staff as a senior adviser on student-aid issues.
Ms. Hicks, a former coordinator of student aid at Harvard University, has held the second-highest student-aid position for more than two years. In the position, she managed the $5.9 billion Pell Grant program for needy college students.
For the past year, she administered the growth of the department's new student-loan program, which bypasses banks and lends money directly to students.
Report Finds Job Corps Inefficient
A recent General Accounting Office study found that Job Corps programs are plagued by high costs and high dropout rates.
The Department of Labor's $1 billion-a-year program, which offers training and employment services to youths ages 16 to 24 through resource centers, needs better eligibility guidelines to select students and contractors for programs, according to the GAO report released last month.
"Job Corps needs to improve the selection of program applicants in order to decrease the early dropout rate for program participants," Cornelia M. Blanchette, the associate director for education and employment issues for the GAO, said in recent testimony to a House oversight subcommittee.
Considerable resources are spent on students who drop out early or do not complete training, she said. In 1995, the average cost of training a Job Corps student was more than $15,000.
For the same year, about 40 percent of funding was spent on students who did not complete their training, officials of the GAO, the congressional watchdog agency, estimated.