Community College Leaders Advocate for Short-Term Pell, Emergency Grant Aid, and Expanded Student Supports
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC), a coalition of community colleges, today submitted a memo to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team offering insight into ways the new administration can better support and strengthen the nation’s community colleges.
RAMC Board President and Chancellor of Dallas College Joe May said, “Community colleges are absolutely essential to promoting workforce development and providing affordable, quality education options to the nation’s most vulnerable students. However, the pandemic continues to create tremendous upheaval for families, and, as a result, far too many of our students have no choice but to postpone their education pursuits. The memo we’ve submitted to the incoming administration proposes strategies to better support community colleges and their students, which we believe will encourage more opportunity and persistence in higher education.”
The memo details several policy recommendations, including:
- Provide additional funding for emergency grant aid and IHEs through the Education Stabilization Fund. RAMC urges the incoming Administration to work with Congress to provide $120 billion for institutions of higher education through the Education Stabilization Fund created by the CARES Act. In addition, RAMC supports a strong maintenance of effort that makes sure State dollars provided to institutions remain in exchange for additional Federal funding.
- Ensure broadband for low-income college students. RAMC endorses the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act (S. 3701) that was introduced by Senator Klobuchar earlier this year. This bill provides $1 billion to colleges and universities to facilitate broadband access for low-income students, and RAMC urges the inclusion of this legislation in any COVID package moved in the early days of the 117th
- Enact Short-term Pell. The current Pell grant structure does not allow students to access aid to earn short-term credentials that lead to high-paying, career-starting jobs, and RAMC urges the incoming Administration to work with Congress to include an expansion of Pell to cover these invaluable programs that can make a huge difference in students’ future earnings potential.
- Increase childcare funding and support providers. A major barrier to community college students having the time and ability to attend class (whether virtually or in person) is access to childcare. RAMC urges the incoming Administration to work with Congress to significantly increase childcare funding and ensure funds can be used to support the reopening and continued operation of providers.