Today, President Biden unveiled a revised framework for the Build Back Better Act—budget reconciliation legislation aimed at further developing our country’s potential by investing in its human resources. The framework devotes $40 billion in higher education and workforce programs and includes features that are tremendously important to community colleges and students. On behalf of the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees, we enthusiastically endorse this framework.
The President’s framework contains a needed increase to the maximum Pell grant award for students, including DREAMers, who are enrolled in public and private non-profit colleges, historic investments in HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs, funding for critical retention and completion strategies, and significant dedicated investments in community college workforce programs. All of these represent longstanding community college priorities.
AACC President and CEO Dr. Walter G. Bumphus stated that, “The revised Build Back Better Act will do much to enhance community college programs and services that support access and success for the nation’s 11.8 million community college students. President Biden’s commitment to supporting community colleges as an on-ramp to the middle class has been unwavering and we stand ready to continue the work of providing relevant, affordable, and accessible opportunities that will benefit the nation’s students and workforce. This is a win-win for America.”
ACCT President and CEO-elect Jee Hang Lee offered that “ensuring postsecondary education and workforce programs are accessible and affordable for our nation’s students is more important than ever, given the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are disappointed that America’s College Promise program is not included in the framework, our advocacy for this key initiative will continue, because it is necessary to ensure that all Americans can attain postsecondary education. We strongly support President Biden’s proposed enhancements to the Federal Pell Grant program, investments in postsecondary institutions that serve our most vulnerable students, new support for student retention and completion efforts, and the invigoration of critical community college workforce programs.”
We are enormously grateful to our members for their active participation in our legislative efforts to advance the community college sector and will continue to work together with our federal representatives to implement these needed programs.