Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brookings Panel Discusses Student Loan Programs & Expansion of Pell

May 26, 2009—Today, a panel of experts discussed the future of financial aid at a Brookings Institution Brown Center on Education Policy Event in Washington D.C. Deputy Undersecretary of Education Robert Shireman represented the Obama Administration and the Department of Education on the panel. Celia Sims (R-NC), legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), also was included on the panel. Sen. Burr is Co-Chair of the Senate Community College Caucus.

The discussion included the Obama Administration’s proposal to convert the federal loan programs into a single direct-lending program and use savings from taking these actions to support expansion of the Pell Grant program.

The panelists supported a simple, transparent and predictable financial-aid process and programs to encourage greater higher-education enrollments and completion.

The full panel included:


  • Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst
    Senior Fellow, Governance Studies


  • Robert Shireman
    Deputy Undersecretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • Michael McPherson
    President, The Spencer Foundation
  • Sandy Baum
    Senior Policy Analyst, College Board & Professor of Economics, Skidmore College
  • Philip Day
    CEO and President, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • Celia Sims
    Legislative Assistant, Office of U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)

For more information, visit the Brookings Institution Web site.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

ACCT President Gives Commencement Address at ACCC, Receives Honorary Degree

Yesterday, Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) President and CEO J. Noah Brown spoke to graduates of Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC) in Cape May, New Jersey. Brown encouraged graduates to “be prepared to learn everything you can, find your passion in life, know what makes you happy, and be entrepreneurial in your outlook.”

Optimism was a clear theme at the graduation ceremony. Student Government Association President Benjamin Dailey of Absecon, 26, an Iraq war veteran who earned an A.S. in general studies with high honors, told the graduates: “Don't even worry about making the right decision. Rather, make your decision right...The only way to be happy and feel truly successful is by doing the things that make you proud.”

“Passion,” Brown said, “is a key ingredient for success and achievement.” He also encouraged graduates to move ahead in their lives with confidence, to “be an agent for change,” and to be lifelong advocates of community colleges, suggesting that they "help others understand community colleges put wings on dreams.”

Dr. Peter L. Mora, ACCC president, presented honorary associate degrees to Brown, along with Robert J. Boyer, past chairman of the ACCC Board of Trustees; The Honorable Joseph Silipena, former chairman of the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders; and H. Robert Switzer, a long-standing municipal court judge who served as is this year's Beacons by the Sea Visiting Professor.

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States, Canada, and England. For more information, go to http://www.acct.org/.

Atlantic Cape Community College enrolls more than 6,500 for-credit students from Atlantic and Cape May counties in New Jersey. For more information, go to http://www.atlantic.edu/.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

House Committee Holds Hearing on Increasing Student Aid Through Loan Reform

Thursday, May 21, 2009 — Today, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing to examine a proposal outlined by President Obama in his FY 2010 budget request, which would increase funding for the Pell Grant program by almost $94 billion over ten years and make Pell an entitlement program (mandatory). The President’s plan would be paid for by ending the subsidies the federal government currently pays to lenders in the Federal Family Education Loan program, which is the federally guaranteed student loan program, and re-directing those savings back into Pell. In turn, the move would originate all new loans starting in the academic year 2010-2011 under the Direct Loan program.

ACCT supports the Obama Administration’s effort to make the Pell Grant program into an entitlement program (mandatory). The proposal would also allow for Pell Grant maximum increases each year based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus one percent. Another component of this proposal would be the creation of a program focused on student access and success. This new program would be funded at $500 million or $2.5 billion over five years. The key committee witness was Robert Shireman, Deputy Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, who is leading the Department’s effort on Pell.

Click here for a webcast of today’s hearing.

ACCT encourages community college leaders to contact your members of Congress in support of reforming college aid to allow for stable Pell Grant program.

Contacting your legislators is easy at ACCT’s Policy Center.
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Center for American Progress Hosts Thought Leaders from White House, Lumina, Gates, JFF & Boeing

This morning, the Center for American Progress hosted a panel of thought leaders to deliberate on "Getting to Work: The Tough Journey of Getting to More Postsecondary Degrees." Panelists (see below) explored opportunities and challenges of meeting President Obama's challenge to increase the number of Americans with postsecondary credentials. While not billed explicitly as a discussion on community college education, the discussion was almost exclusively about the importance of community colleges and ways in which to promote, improve and grow the community college system.

Opening remarks were given by James Kvall, senior director of the White House National Economic Council and Rick Stephens, senior vice president of human resources and administration for the Boeing Company. Featured panelists included:
  • Jamie Merisotis, CEO, Lumina Foundation for Education
  • Arthur M. Hauptman, independent policy consultant
  • Nancy Hoffman, vice president, Jobs for the Future
  • Nisha Patel, program officer for special initiatives, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The discussion was moderated by Louis Soares, director of economic mobility, Center for American Progress.

Merisotis, a featured keynote speaker at ACCT's upcoming 40th Annual Community College Leadership Congress in San Francisco, said "for too long, we have focused on means, not goals." "I'm optimistic about the chance to improve community college with the support of the Obama Administration," Merisotis said, "but we still have a long way to go."

Findings of a Center for American Progress paper published in February, "The Other College: Retention and completion rates among two-year college students," were discussed. The study discusses later academic performance of community college students, as well as completion statistics and determines that "America’s future economic success may well depend on how we invest in two-year institutions. National leaders would be wise to move the 'other college' to the forefront of the postsecondary policymaking arena."

Hauptman read from a new study he co-authored with Young Kim entitled "Cost, Commitment and Completion in Higher Education: An International Comparison." Hauptman indicated three goals that he believes should be sought: 1) Focus more attention and resources on community colleges; 2) Develop strategies to improve completion rates and; 3) Consider higher enrollment as a means to moderate costs per student and improve productivity.

The overall message given by the panel suggested that improvements to America's community colleges are necessary, but that these colleges are of great, and increasing, importance to the nation's education system and economy.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Secretary Arne Duncan Testifies Before House Committee

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and Labor Committee to outline President Barack Obama's education agenda and the FY2010 budget request.

While the bulk of Secretary Duncan's comments covered K-12 education, he noted three key changes in the higher education area: First, the Pell Grant program would be shifted to a mandatory, appropriated entitlement. Second, the elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan program and the move into a large direct lending program. Third, the Perkins loan program will increase from $1 billion to $6 billion. This change will also increase the participation rates for students and colleges.

The Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to discuss the Administration's proposal for FFEL and direct lending.

In other testimony, Secretary Duncan noted that the Department is focused on ensuring that states are utilizing stimulus stabilization funds properly and on education.

Click here for Secretary Duncan's testimony.

Click here to view the hearing.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Rep. John B. Larson (D-CT) Introduces Community College Technology Access Act (H.R. 2060)

Empowering Community Colleges to Empower Tech Workers
by Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT)

The United States of America is facing an economic turning point and our workforce is ill-prepared to meet the demands of a 21st century global economy. We must provide ways for workers to get the technology training they need to excel in the industries that will form the backbone of our future economy.

Community colleges have played a vital role preparing students for jobs in local business sectors. They reach into communities with almost 1,200 locations across the country, in urban, rural, and suburban areas. Nearly every American can access a community college.

With the Community College Technology Access Act (H.R. 2060), we hope to expand the mission of community colleges to provide students and the public at-large with a technology hub and training center. This bill would provide grants to community colleges that open up their computer labs to the public and provide free computer instruction on nights and weekends.

In my home state of Connecticut we have seen the impact community colleges can have on an area. Local schools have taken the lead on expanding access to technology for students. Capital Community College in Hartford, for example, has dedicated an entire floor of its building to information technology training, and has over 1,200 computers on its campus.

By providing community colleges with additional resources, we can give millions of Americans access to the training they need to improve their skills and join the workforce of the future. In order for our nation to recover, our workers must have the ability to compete in an increasingly globalized economy. Community colleges are one of our strongest means to meeting this need.

ACCT encourages community college trustees, presidents, administrators, faculty, students and other advocates to contact your Congressional representatives and encourage them to support H.R. 2060. Click here to contact members of Congress from your area now.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gates Foundation, ACCT, AACC Address Community Colleges at Ed. Dept.

Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) President and CEO J. Noah Brown represented the nation's community college trustees this morning at a Department of Education briefing in Washington, D.C. "Community colleges have never been more needed than they are now," Brown said, "but they've never been as hampered as they are now, due to economic constraints." Nevertheless, Brown said, "We are poised to make a difference."

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer Diane Troyer joined Brown and American Association of Community Colleges President and CEO George Boggs on the panel, "Community Colleges: Unlocking Higher Education to Build Tomorrow's Workforce." Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) Assistant Secretary Glenn Cummings moderated the panel.

Boggs delineated the most pressing issues confronting community colleges, which include the economy, sustainability, student success, education alignment, inclusion, globalization, serving returning veterans, leadership and accountability, among others.

Troyer stressed the Gates Foundation's goals of improving graduation rates, noting that, "We prioritize keeping the door open for access to all students...but once they're in the door, we need to focus on keeping them." Troyer also spoke about the importance of streamlining K-16 education systems to encourages greater portability of credits and credentials.

Cummings said that the Secretary of Education "sees that as the economy changes, we are very much dependent on community colleges" for quality, affordable education and job-training programs.

The purpose of the briefing was to provide an overview of some of the most pressing issues facing community colleges as they try to expand their services. Audience members had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about an array of community college initiatives funded by OVAE.

Community college intiatives currently underway at OVAE include:

Click here to go to the OVAE community college page, which offers more information about upcoming meetings and events, funding opportunities, projects, speeches and presentations, and more, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's keynote address at the 2009 Community College National Legislative Summit.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Solis Outlines FY2010 Budget Request; Harkin and Cochran Advocate for Community Colleges

Today, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to outline the President’s FY2010 budget request.

A significant item in the budget request is the creation of the Career Pathways Innovation Fund, which will continue the support for community colleges provided by Community-Based Job Training Grants (CBJTG), but will focus on career-pathway programs at community colleges. These programs help individuals of varying skill levels enter and pursue rewarding careers in high-demand and emerging industries. Funded at $135 million, career-pathway programs are clear sequences of coursework and credentials that may lead to better jobs in particular fields, such as health care, law enforcement, or clean energy.

Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) both noted the importance of community colleges in relation to the Career Pathways fund. Additionally, Chairman Harkin asked Secretary Solis to target the funds to green job efforts, noting that Iowa community colleges have been in the forefront of this effort.

Also, Secretary Solis appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education yesterday to outline the budget request.

To view the Senate hearing: http://appropriations.senate.gov/

To view the House testimony: http://appropriations.house.gov/Subcommittees/sub_lhhse.shtml

The Department of Labor funding levels can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/lab.pdf
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Friday, May 8, 2009

President Obama Highlights the Importance of Community Colleges

Today, President Barack Obama held a press conference to address the nation’s rising unemployment rate, which now stands at 8.9 percent, with 539,000 jobs lost in April of this year. At the conference, President Obama announced a significant change in the unemployment benefit rules, which stipulates that unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits may qualify for education- and training-related financial aid.

Specifically, the Federal Pell Grant program can provide up to $5,350 for educational costs at community colleges, colleges and universities, and many trade and technical schools. "The idea here,” said President Obama, “is to fundamentally change our approach to unemployment in this country, so that it's no longer just a time to look for a new job, but is also a time to prepare yourself for a better job. That's what our unemployment system should be--not just a safety net, but a stepping stone to a new future." As part of this new plan, states will be encouraged to change rules that prevent the unemployed from enrolling in education or training courses because they are supposed to actively look for a job while taking government benefits.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis have collaborated on the launch of a new website, http://www.opportunity.gov/, which provides the necessary information for unemployed workers about the array of financial opportunities open to them.

In other major news, President Obama announced that Dr. Jill Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College and Second Lady of the United States, will “lead a national effort to raise awareness about what we're doing to open the doors to our community colleges.”

President Obama stated that “in the weeks to come, I will also lay out a fundamental rethinking of our job-training, vocational education, and community college programs. It's time to move beyond the idea that we need several different programs to address several different problems--we need one comprehensive policy that addresses our comprehensive challenges.”

To watch the President’s speech:
Read a transcript of the President’s speech at:

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Rep. Tom Latham: "Community Colleges Leading America to Energy Independence"

Community Colleges Leading America to Energy Independence

A guest blog by Iowa Congressman Tom Latham
Iowa’s 4th Congressional District

In recent years, the spark that community colleges have traditionally provided for their local economies through job training and outreach has also helped ignite profound advances in renewable energy and green technologies.

I’ve watched with pride as community colleges throughout my home state of Iowa have established innovative programs that train students to run and repair the latest cutting edge renewable energy equipment. For example, Iowa Lakes Community College boasts a degree program that trains students to become wind energy technicians. Graduates of the program enter a growing industry with skills that will put them at the front of the line for high-tech jobs maintaining windmills and other renewable energy technology.

To support these efforts, I’ve introduced legislation that would grant tax incentives to renewable energy companies that donate equipment to community colleges and other institutions that train workers for jobs in renewable energy. This bill—H.R. 1249—titled the “Equipping a 21st Century Green Workforce Act,” will help community colleges develop renewable energy programs that provide students with hands-on experience with new equipment and technology.

Community colleges across the country are paving the way toward energy independence, job growth and a safer and greener America. As a co-chair of the Congressional Community College Caucus, I’ve gotten a close look at the benefits community colleges provide for their local economies, and I’m proud to do my part to make sure they have the tools they need to continue to improve the lives of Americans. This country is ready for energy independence, and community colleges can help lead the way.

Click here for H.R. 1249.

ACCT supports H.R. 1249 and other efforts to help community colleges provide training for the greening of our workforce and the economy.

We encourage our membership to reach out to their members of Congress in support of this piece of legislation. Congressional Members can be reached through ACCT's Policy Center.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

President Obama Releases Detailed FY2010 Budget Request

Today, President Barack Obama formally released his FY2010 budget request. The budget request provides the full listing of program appropriations and other Administration-directed funding. The Administration’s budget totals $3.4 trillion with $46.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education (does not include the Pell Grant program).

In the President’ budget request, the Pell Grant maximum would be increased to $5,550. The budget request outlines the path to reclassify the Pell Grant program as a mandatory program, with increases based upon Consumer Price Index plus one percent. The budget states that $4 billion each year would be saved by the consolidation of the Federal Family Education Loan program. Additionally, the request contains a $500 million ($2.5 billion over five years) program to improve college success and completion. This program would also be funded on the mandatory side.

Here are some funding levels for key community college programs (compared to FY2009):

· Pell Grant maximum: $5,550 ($200 increase)
· Career and Technical Education State Grants: $1.16 billion (level funding)
· Tech Prep: $102.9 million (level funding)
· Strengthening Institutions, Title III-A: $84 million ($4 million increase)
· GEAR-Up: $313.2 million (level funding)

At the Department of Labor, Secretary Hilda Solis announced the creation of the Career Pathways Innovation Fund, which will continue the support for community colleges provided by Community-Based Job Training Grants (CBJTG), but will focus on career-pathway programs at community colleges. These programs help individuals of varying skill levels enter and pursue rewarding careers in high-demand and emerging industries. Funded at $135 million, career-pathway programs are clear sequences of coursework and credentials that may lead to better jobs in particular fields, such as health care, law enforcement, or clean energy.

Grants will be awarded to community colleges and consortia of community colleges that develop or expand career-pathway programs in partnership with education and training providers, employers, and the workforce investment system. In addition to the provision of training services, a portion of funds may be used for program operations and capacity-building activities, such as curriculum development, hiring faculty, and purchasing equipment.

The Department of Education funding levels are detailed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/edu.pdf

The Department of Labor funding levels can be found at:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/lab.pdf Read more!

Brookings Issues Federal Proposal to 'Transform' Community Colleges

Today, The Brookings Institution issued a federal proposal called “Transforming America’s Community Colleges: A Federal Policy Proposal to Expand Opportunity and Promote Economic Prosperity.” The proposal calls for the federal government to invest in community colleges and equip them for the 21st century. Brookings calls the plan a “long-overdue investment” that “should establish national goals and a related performance measurement system; provide resources to drive college performance toward those goals; stimulate greater innovation in community college policies and practices to enhance the quality of subbaccalaureate education; and support data systems to track student and institutional progress and performance.”

Joining in a chorus of others who have recently voiced their support for the value of community colleges, Brookings states that “the United States created an advantage over other countries by helping our citizens attain formal education, generating an able workforce and technological advancement,” in reference to the community college system. The Institution goes on to state:

Yet U.S. higher educational attainment, long considered a ladder to economic and social success, has stalled, and now reinforces inequalities between rich and poor America. Community colleges represent an affordable, accessible route for a wide income spectrum of students to access well-paying, high-demand jobs, as well as further education. But low degree completion rates at these institutions raise serious challenges for public policy efforts to achieve robust, broad-based economic growth.

Between 2000-2001 and 2005-2006 total enrollment in community colleges grew by 2.3 million students, more than in any other higher educational sector. The current economic downturn is spurring further increases. Yet community colleges receive less than one-third the level of direct federal government support as do public four-year colleges. This matters as economic research indicates that a relative decline in post-secondary funding diminishes degree completion. While all public colleges and universities rely on non-tuition revenue, community colleges depend disproportionately upon state and local governments, currently under severe budget pressure. Only the federal government has the capacity to raise expectations for community college performance and support the necessary investments to achieve those goals at a scale commensurate with the growing demands facing over 1,000 community colleges nationwide.

Brookings proposes “a new federal approach”:

The new administration and Congress should transform our community colleges into engines of opportunity and prosperity by targeting new investments to those colleges that succeed in helping their students succeed. To that end, the federal government should:

  • Establish national postsecondary goals and create a performance measurement system to support the effective use of federal resources
  • Double its current level of support in order to account for more than 10 percent of community colleges’ budgets, ultimately awarding threequarters of these funds based on colleges’ performance in meeting key goals around student credit, credential, and degree completion
  • Stimulate instructional innovations and practices to increase the quality of community college education, by devoting half of the administration’s proposed $2.5 billion state-federal partnership fund to improve and evaluate practices enhancing sub-baccalaureate education
  • Support the improvement of student data systems necessary to measure and
    track college student outcomes, guide funding, improve accountability, and promote continuous improvement in educational quality

For more information, read the policy brief or the full report from the Brookings Institution.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Op-Ed: Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, by Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del)

Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act

by Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del)

Americans are currently facing serious economic challenges. In just one year, the number of unemployed workers across the nation has increased by about 5.3 million, leaving high school and college graduates to face the toughest job market in decades. While unemployment rates continue to rise, the recession has provided several industries with real opportunities for growth.

To obtain the skills needed for these expanding fields, recent graduates and un- and underemployed workers are turning to the classroom. Changes in consumer demand, technology and many other factors have contributed to the continually changing employment structure in the U.S. economy. The sectors projected to be the fastest-growing over the next several decades are education and health services. Employment of teachers is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2006 and 2016, creating about 479,000 additional positions in the education field.
Healthcare and social assistance — including public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities and individual and family services — is expected to grow by 25.4 percent, which would add approximately 4 million new jobs. These are bright spots in the economy that we can cultivate.

Now more than ever, job-training programs must be utilized to provide workers with the skills and training they will need during these challenging economic times. As many industries continue to shift and grow, we can encourage community and business leaders to include job training and postsecondary education programs as a bridge for job-seekers.

In Congress, I am hopeful that we will advance employment opportunities by revising and reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act. WIA currently works to give job-seekers access to job training services, counseling, and labor market information to help them get back on their feet. Although the legislation has been successful, more work is needed to strengthen and improve America’s job-training system to encourage states, communities and educational institutions to give workers the training they need to find good jobs.

Additionally, we must promote the community colleges and other educational institutions that have seen increased numbers of student applications and enrollment since the downturn in the economy. They are so often the key to bridging the employment gap.

In these trying times, many students have made more practical decisions to go to a local or community college instead of moving farther away for college. In fact, community college enrollment last year rose about 10 percent from the previous school year. As a co-chairman of the Congressional Community College Caucus, I have seen their potential for working with local government and industry leaders to grow a regional economy through education and practical job-training curricula.

As we consider higher education and job training, I hope we on the House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness continue to examine what is driving college costs and expand access for students, regardless of their income. With the enactment of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Congress took many steps toward making college more accessible and affordable through federal grants and access to student loans. We can’t turn away from asking why costs are rising at such rates and whether it is justified to increase at a faster pace than annual family household income.

As the economy continues to change, job-training programs and educational opportunities must also transform to ensure that Americans have the tools they need to be adequately trained to face the job market.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Innovations and Best Practices under the Workforce Investment Act

Today, the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness held a hearing to examine best practices for improving adult education and family literacy. This is the fourth hearing the committee is holding as it works toward reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act, which provides job training, education programs, vocational rehabilitation and other services to Americans.

Click here for an archived webcast.

Witnesses included:
  • David BerĂ© » President and Chief Strategy Officer, Dollar General Corporation, Goodlettsville, TN
  • Kathy Cooper » Policy Associate, Office of Adult Basic Education, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Olympia, WA
  • Martin Finsterbusch » Executive Director, VALUE, Inc. (Voice of Adult Learners United to Educate), Media, PA
  • Donna Kinerney, Ph.D. » Instructional Dean, Adult ESOL & Literacy Programs, Montgomery College, Wheaton, MD
  • Roberta Lanterman » Program Director, Long Beach Family Literacy, Long Beach, CA
  • Stephen Reder, Ph.D. » University Professor and Chair, Department of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • Gretchen Wilson » Grammy winning recording artist and GED graduate Nashville, TN
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House Passes H.Res. 338, National Community College Month

Today, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 338, which supports the goals and ideals of National Community College Month.

The resolution was sponsored by the four co-chairs of the House Community College Caucus, Reps. Michael Castle (R-DE), Tom Latham (R-IA), Brad Miller (D-NC), and David Wu (D-OR). The resolution was sponsored by a total of 44 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The resolution received 424 yea votes and zero nays, with 9 members not voting. Read more!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Biden, Brown to Give Community College Commencement Addresses

Dr. Jill Biden, an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College and wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will serve as commencement speaker at Kingsborough Community College this year, announced the White House on May 1.

Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York is Brooklyn’s only community college and serves approximately 30,000 students per year.

Biden will address graduates, family members, and faculty at Kingsborough on Friday June 12, 2009.

Biden, an educator of 28 years, has taught English in community colleges for the past 15 years.

Association of Community College Trustees President and CEO J. Noah Brown will be the commencement speaker at Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey on Thursday, May 21, 2009. Atlantic Cape Community College was New Jersey's second community college and serves 6,500 students in three locations.

Brown is a nationally recognized authority on community college governance, a contributor to national publications, and a speaker on a broad range of topics to large audiences. His experience spans more than 25 years in the nation’s capital working in the nonprofit sector. Read more!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Calls Community Colleges "Critical"

Speaking to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke extensively about the important role of community colleges in meeting the Obama Administration's goals to make the United States a top producer of highly educated students.

“Lots of people just assume we already have the highest percent” of college graduates in the world, Duncan said. “I think the public doesn’t understand the extent to which other countries have passed us by.”

He says that “Community colleges have been an undervalued resource."

“We’ve made a major play in that area…there’s a chance to have many more people graduate.”

The Chronicle article goes on to say that:
The secretary said he chose a community-college chancellor—Martha J. Kanter, of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District—as his under secretary “to send a signal of how critical community colleges are.”

“I didn’t do that by accident,” he said. “That was strategic.”

Describing meeting with community-college presidents in Iowa and Florida who have adapted their course offerings to meet employers’ changing needs, Mr. Duncan said community colleges needed to remain “on the cutting edge” of work-force trends. A college in Iowa, he said, has started to help build parts for windmills, and an institution in Miami has created programs to train people for jobs in the fashion industry there.

“Community colleges have to be nimble,” he said.

Duncan also discussed the importance of college completion, keeping tuition rates as low as possible, and enforcing accountability measures. Read the full article.

Duncan was a featured keynote speaker at the 2009 Community College National Legislative Summit in February.

ACCT, in collaboration with AACC, is spearheading the development of appropriate accountability measures for community colleges, taking into account variable roles that community colleges serve, which is not always the completion of a two-year degree for all students. ACCT will provide further information as it becomes available.
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