Dr. Joe May, RAMC Board President and Chancellor, Dallas County Community College District Reacts to Budget Testimony by John King, Acting Secretary, US Department of Education, Before the Education and Workforce Committee of the US House of Representatives, 2/24/16
As part of our commitment to enhancing student access and success and to promoting on the national level the vital role community colleges play in serving Americans, Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC) is watching closely the budget testimony today by Dr. John King, Acting Secretary of the US Department of Education and we offer the following three observations:
- First, we welcome support for reinstating Summer Pell. This has been a RAMC priority since its elimination several years ago most greatly impacted community college students. However, we are concerned with the requirement that students would have to take at least 24 credits during the previous two semesters to qualify. For a huge number of community college students, it is simply not feasible to attend school full time; many are working adults who must balance the demands of work and family. Since the proposal as is would likely exclude community college students in a disproportionate manner, we urge that it be modified to ensure that all community college students benefit.
- Second, RAMC knows community colleges provide a wealth of opportunities to their students while also benefiting local communities across the nation at a low cost that is unmatched in the higher education sector. For this reason we support funding for America’s College Promise so that eligible students can access community college with waived tuition and fees. RAMC members are already working to provide this opportunity to our own students with local and regional programs similar to America’s College Promise, and by serving on the College Promise Advisory Board.
- Third, RAMC also welcomes the increased funding by $77 million to Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants in the President’s budget, for a total request of $1.193 billion. This additional funding is important to ensure community colleges can help train America’s workforce. Career and technical education is a vital part of the education pipeline and community colleges are in an ideal position to provide this education at a postsecondary level.
ABOUT RAMC: RAMC is a non-profit and a member supported coalition composed of state-wide community college systems, community college districts, individual institutions, and their affiliates representing over 120 colleges and 1.5 million students across the country.