Since I was appointed to the board of Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC) last year, one of the top issues we’ve advocated for is the expansion of Pell Grants for summer classes. I’m happy to report Congress included funding for this important grant in its recent budget bill that funds the government through the end of September.
This means students can receive financial help for three semesters, not just two. Summer Pell Grants are crucial for many of our students because it will help them graduate sooner, enter or re-enter the workforce sooner and complete their programs with less debt. Research shows students who take classes year round are more likely to complete their programs.
Serving on the RAMC board has put me in a strong position to advocate for KCTCS and other community colleges all across the U.S. Many policy makers at the federal level don’t have a good understanding of community colleges and the value they bring to our country. My job, and that of the rest of the board, is to show legislators and others that community colleges are the key to building a stronger workforce, and in turn, a stronger middle class.
Our next step is to advocate for additional expansion of Pell to include Workforce Pell Grants. We’ll also be working toward reforms that address data quality and student loan eligibility concerns, improved reverse transfer processes, improved rules regarding gainful employment and increased federal support and investment in community colleges.
I’ll continue to post information in my blog as we make progress on these issues that are so important to KCTCS and all community colleges.