Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Education Proposals to be Part of the State of Union Address

Today, President Barack Obama will be giving his first State of Union address to the Joint Session of Congress. According to the White House, President Obama is expected to push for additional education dollars for higher education and K-12. The Administration is requesting that the Department of Education’s funding level grow by 6%. The President will likely press Congress to pass the FY2010 Education Reconciliation and the American Graduation Initiative. The Administration’s formal budget request will be released on Monday, February 1.

As for the jobs bill, Senate Democratic leaders are coalescing around a proposal that would provide over $80 billion for infrastructure, energy, and state aid. The House passed its $154 billion jobs bill in December. The Senate Democratic leaders may unveil their bill as early as tomorrow.

In other news, the Center for American Progress held an event on “Community Colleges and Competitiveness: Generating Economic Opportunity Through Innovation in Postsecondary Education” this morning in Washington, D.C. The event was keynoted by Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College. Assistant Secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann Messier also keynoted the event.

The event had a number of other speakers including Gail Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College and Keith Bird, Chancellor Emeritus of Kentucky Community and Technical College System. More information can be found at: The video for the event should be available online shortly. Read more!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Department of Commerce Funding Opportunities Announced

Today, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced the availability of $4.8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants and loans to expand broadband opportunities. There are significant funding opportunities for community colleges within these grants. Below is the pertinent information for community colleges that was included in the department’s press release.

NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)

NTIA’s NOFA allocates approximately $2.6 billion in this funding round of which approximately $2.35 billion will be made available for infrastructure projects. In this round, NTIA is adopting a “comprehensive communities” approach as its top priority in awarding infrastructure grants, focusing on middle mile broadband projects that connect key community anchor institutions – such as libraries, hospitals, community colleges, universities, and public safety institutions. Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects maximize the benefits of BTOP by leveraging resources, promoting sustainable community growth, and ultimately laying the foundation for reasonably priced broadband service to consumers and businesses.

In addition, NTIA plans to award at least $150 million of the funding for Public Computer Center projects, which will expand access to broadband service and enhance broadband capacity at public libraries, community colleges, and other institutions that service the general public. NTIA also plans to award at least $100 million for Sustainable Broadband Adoption projects, which include projects to provide broadband education, training, and equipment, particularly to vulnerable population groups where broadband technology has traditionally been underutilized.

For more information, visit:

Or visit the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program website: Read more!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

AGI Waits for Health Care to be Completed; NLS Speakers Announced

January 7, 2010—Prior to the winter holidays, the Senate finally passed its version of health-care reform. The Administration, House, and Senate are now working together to reach a compromise bill. The White House is pushing to get the bill completed prior to the State of the Union address later in January, but it appears that the timing of the bill will run into February. The House will be back in session on January 12 and the Senate will return on January 19.

Under the above scenario for health care, there is an expectation that the Senate will take up the education budget reconciliation and the American Graduation Initiative in February. In other major news, the Senate’s action on the jobs bill legislation is still pending. It is unclear whether the Senate bill will be similar to the House bill.

ACCT continues to work on gathering co-sponsors for H.R. 4196, the Community College Emergency Stabilization Fund Act, sponsored by Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX). Currently, the bill has 335 co-sponsors. Rep. Larson is still working to attach the bill as part of a larger legislative vehicle. Adding more co-sponsors will facilitate the process.

In other advocacy news, ACCT is excited to start off the new year by announcing the names of three distinguished leaders in media, politics, economics, and business who will be making keynote addresses at the 2010 National Legislative Summit (NLS):

• David Gregory, Moderator, NBC’s Meet the Press
• William D. Green, CEO and Chairman, Accenture
• David Leonhardt, Economics Columnist, The New York Times

The 2010 NLS comes after an unprecedented year of legislative support for community colleges at the federal level. Your participation in this annual event is essential to showing your lawmakers the importance of community colleges to the nation's education as well as the workforce and economy.

You still have time to register for the 2010 NLS.

Click here to register now, or click here for more information. Read more!