Obama Responds to ACCT Call to Action

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) applauds the Administration and Congress for incorporating many of ACCT\’s priorities in the final H.R. 1, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus package.  Specifically, Congress included: 1) a $500 increase in the Pell Grant maximum to assist 7 million college students; 2) funds to support community college infrastructure; 3) $3.95 billion for job-training funds, allowing community colleges to retrain workers affected by the economic downturn and address growing demand for \”green-collar\” workers; and 4) a new
$2,500 tuition tax credit, with 40% refundability.   

\”Community and technical colleges are vital to our national and local economies,\” said Dr. Arthur Anthonisen, ACCT Chair and a trustee of Orange County Community College, N.Y.  \”They are the engines that lift young people and adults out of poverty through the most affordable and accessible post-secondary educations offered, enabling veritably anyone to achieve the American Dream. Technical programs partner with local businesses to provide real training for real jobs.  And cutting-edge courses prepare skilled workers for \’green-collar\’ jobs in the sustainable energy sector, designing everything from robots to wind-powered turbines and hybrid-energy automobiles,\” Anthonisen said. 

\”In this economic downturn, our colleges are on the front lines of ensuring that students of all ages have the skills and training necessary to find jobs to sustain themselves and their families,\” said Anthonisen.\”  Federal aid is needed now more than ever, as colleges are experiencing significant enrollment increases at the same time they receive less funding at the state

ACCT and its membership worked tirelessly to ensure that Congress and the Administration were aware of the significant contributions of community colleges to local, regional and national economies. 

ACCT met with the Obama presidential transition team in December and submitted a formal stimulus proposal and transition document. 

ACCT\’s membership worked in concert with nearly 1,000 community college presidents, trustees and other leaders gathering at the 2009 National Community College Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C., February 9-11.
Community college leaders from across the country spoke onsite with  Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist, Office of Vice President Joe Biden; Judy Biggert, U.S. Representative, 13th District, Illinois; Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education  and others, and ventured to Capitol Hill, where they met independently with their own federal legislators to reinforce the
importance of community colleges to developing workforces, creating jobs, and providing educational opportunities to any qualified student at a cost affordable to most. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 represents a significant landmark in the history of community colleges, allowing for much-needed federal support for these under-funded community-based institutions.  ACCT anticipates that President Obama will sign the legislation tomorrow.

ACCT encourages all of our member trustees, presidents and colleges to thank your elected officials in Washington for their support of our institutions.