The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees endorses the National Legislative Summit (NLS) Community College Federal Legislative Priorities for 2022. ACC’s Congressional delegation will attend the ACCT/AACC National Legislative Summit February 6-9, 2022 in support of the policy initiatives.
ACC’s federal policy priorities include:
PROVIDE PERMANENT LEGAL STATUS UNDER DREAM ACT
ACC aims to give Dreamers permanent legal status and access to Title IV student aid funding. The Dream Act provides a path to citizenship for undocumented young people, including the thousands of students currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
REAUTHORIZATION OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT (HEA)
ACC supports the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) to make community college universally accessible and promote student success. The HEA is a federal law that governs the administration of federal higher education programs including student-aid programs and federal aid to colleges. Current authorization for HEA expired at the end of 2013. ACC looks to establish a federal-state partnership to enhance college affordability and enrollment by creating tuition-free community college. The priority asks for states to be incentivized to sustain and enhance their support of higher education as the federal government helps make community college universally available.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE LED JOB TRAINING PROGRAM FUND THAT LINKS JOB TRAINING
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic emphasizes the need for a dedicated community college job training program. The college seeks to integrate institutional programs with business and workforce needs through an investment that builds on the demonstrated success of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. Millions of jobs remain unfilled across the country and community colleges lack funding to effectively address the situation.
ACC continues its commitment to accessible and affordable education to fight under- and unemployment in Central Texas. ACC currently offers a 50-percent tuition discount program on most Continuing Education (CE) Fast Track courses, New opportunities start every month. The tuition discount is available for more than 20 programs in the highest-demand sectors in the region, including healthcare, IT, manufacturing, and education.
JOB TRAINING AND CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION
The college aims for increased funding and continued support of the Strengthening Community College Training Grants administered by the Department of Labor which lead to jobs in in-demand industries.
SUPPORT STUDENT ACCESS AND SUCCESS
ACC seeks to boost the Pell Grant maximum award and provide annual inflationary increases to assist low-income students with tuition and fees and all other college expenses. Increasing the maximum award also helps diminish the cost of attendance for low-income students and reduces their need to borrow.
The college also asks to increase funding provided for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, TRIO, GEAR UP, and Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) programs.
SHORT-TERM PELL GRANTS
ACC seeks to establish eligibility for shorter-term programs to qualify for Pell Grants. Currently, grants are required to be two-thirds of a year. Lowering the threshold to 150 hours would qualify students enrolled in short-term training programs who seek to quickly increase skills and earning potential in high-quality programs. It also would enable more individuals to access training in high-need fields.
INVEST IN BASIC STUDENT NEEDS
ACC seeks to meet the financial needs of community college students, outside the cost of tuition, including food, housing, transportation, child care, and medical expenses. The college requests increased support for Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) and the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
INCREASE FUNDING TO UNDER-RESOURCED INSTITUTIONS
To promote more access and close equity gaps, the colleges requests increased funding for institutional aid programs, including: Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Title III-A Strengthening Institutions; Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Tribal Colleges; and other programs serving traditionally underrepresented populations.
INCREASE COMMUNITY COLLEGE INFRASTRUCTURE
Technical education requires continuous large-scale capital investments, but community colleges face a backlog of unaddressed projects and maintenance needs. ACC seeks to increase funding for community college infrastructure to boost economic activity.
For more information about ACC's public-policy agenda, contact Chris Cervini, ACC Community and Public Affairs associate vice chancellor, at email@example.com.