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Management Bulletin

Provides guidance, regarding fees, to local educational agencies (school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools) maintaining adult classes for which they receive federal funding under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Adult Education Office
Career and College Transition Division

Subject: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Title II: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Grant Funding

Number: 2016-01

Authority: Education Department General Administrative Regulations: 2 CFR 200.80

California Education Code sections 52612(a) and 52612(b)

Date: July 1, 2016


Superintendents and Administrators, WIOA, Title II: AEFLA Grantees


This Management Bulletin provides guidance regarding fees to local educational agencies (school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools) maintaining adult classes for which they receive WIOA, Title II: AEFLA grant funding.


In Assembly Bill 189 (Statutes  2011, Chapter  606), the Legislature amended California Education Code (EC) Section 52612, effective January 1, 2012, to suspend temporarily the prohibition on and permit school districts to charge a fee for classes in English and citizenship until July 1, 2015.  

School districts receiving federal WIOA, Title II: AEFLA grant funds that collected and reported fees for English and citizenship classes on their Expenditure Claim Reports after July 1, 2015, when the temporary moratorium on the prohibition of such fees expired,as provided by EC Section 52612(c), are permitted to collect and retain such fees for the 2015–16 school year only.

Federal Grant Requirements

Program income means gross income earned by the non-Federal entity that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the Federal award during the period of performance except as provided in §200.307 paragraph (f). (See §200.77 Period of performance). Program income includes but is not limited to income from fees for services performed, the use or rental or real or personal property acquired under Federal awards, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under a Federal award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and principal and interest on loans made with Federal award funds. Interest earned on advances of Federal funds is not program income. Except as otherwise provided in Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award, program income does not include rebates, credits, discounts, and interest earned on any of them. (§200.80)

  • Program income may be added to the grant and used for the purposes and under the conditions of the grant agreement.
  • Local providers charging fees must use the program income generated by federal adult education funds for allowable costs to the federal adult education program.

The WIOA, Title II: AEFLA grant stipulates that: fees established by local programs are (1) necessary and reasonable and (2) do not impose a barrier to the participation of disadvantaged persons that the program was designed to serve.

Local programs are prohibited from counting tuition and fees collected from students toward meeting matching, cost-sharing, or Maintenance of Effort requirements of a program. (34 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 76.534)

California Statutory Requirement

While federal regulations allow program fees to be collected, the California statute is more restrictive and governs the implementation of the AEFLA grant for LEAs in California. Under EC Section 52612, school districts may generally charge adults fees for adult classes, with the exception of a “charge of any kind” for classes in English, citizenship and elementary subjects; and a “fee charge” for high school classes (including high school equivalency classes, see below) taken by an adult without a high school diploma. By contrast, federal regulations applicable to adult educational agencies (LEAs) receiving AEFLA grants permit fees without these exceptions. Many provisions under the former adult education program (EC Section 52500, et seq.), of which Section 52612 forms part, are inconsistent with the new Adult Education Block Grant Program (EC 84900, et seq.), which does not mention fees. Given this uncertainty in the status of fees for English and citizenship classes after July 1, 2015, and previous lack of clear guidance on the issue, the Department has therefore determined that LEAs receiving AEFLA grants should be permitted to collect and retain such fees for the 2015–16 school year only.

However, the Department has now determined that all LEAs that charged fees for adult classes in English and citizenship through July 1, 2015 (EC Section 52612 [b]), or thereafter, are prohibited from collecting such fees for the 2016–17 school year and onwards.

The Department also interprets the prohibition in EC Section 52612(a) of “a charge of any kind” for English, citizenship and elementary classes to encompass not only a registration fee for those classes, but any incidental charges, such as identity cards, parking charges, and the like. By contrast, the “fee charge” prohibition for high school credit classes precludes only a fee and registration fee. By way of clarification, an adult student enrolled in high school equivalency programs is “a person who does not hold a high school diploma,” and Section 52612(a) therefore prohibits a fee and registration fee in such cases also.  Adult students enrolled in high school equivalency programs are, however, responsible for testing fees.

All federal grant recipients (both school districts and other providers) are reminded that any permitted fees must still satisfy the necessary and reasonable and no-barrier requirements of federal law.

If you have questions regarding this subject, please contact your assigned Regional Consultant in the Adult Education Office, Career and College Transition Division, by phone at 916-322-2175.

EC Section 52612 provides, emphasis added:

(a) Except as specified in this section, the governing board of the school district maintaining the class may require an adult enrolled in a class for adults to pay a fee for the class. Except as specified in Section 52613, the governing board of a school district shall not impose a charge of any kind for a class in English and citizenship or a class in an elementary subject. A fee charge shall not be made for a class designated by the governing board as a class for which high school credit is granted when the class is taken by a person who does not hold a high school diploma. The total of the fees required and revenues derived from average daily attendance shall not exceed the estimated cost of all such classes maintained, including the reserves authorized by Section 52501.5.

(b) All textbooks and classroom materials furnished without charge under this section may also be offered for sale at the school bookstore.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the governing board of a school district may charge a fee for a class in English and citizenship until July 1, 2015.

Questions:   Adult Education Office | 916-322-2175
Last Reviewed: Friday, August 5, 2016
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