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2021 Federal Priorities

These are adapted from ACCT’s Federal priorities, which can be found here.

Fund Community Colleges and Their Students to Meet the Pandemic’s Challenges. Statewide, Community Colleges lost more than $21 million (due to revenue declines and added costs) during just the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone. These losses have continued to compound this year. Meanwhile Iowa’s Community Colleges have stepped up to meet student and community needs by offering in-person experiences wherever possible, pivoted to offering safe, online courses for those who need then, and met community needs by providing PPE, serving as testing sites, and sharing facilities with local health care. We have joined with others in higher education to request $97.3 billion in new assistance. We also support the call for investment that building on the demonstrated success of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, tightly linking training programs to jobs as the economy recovers.

Focus Student Tax Policy. Currently, Pell Grant awards can be taxed, a burden to our most vulnerable students. We also support altering the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLC) to provide 100% of the fist $2,000 of tuition and fees for job training.

Invest in Higher Education and Workforce Development. The following programs are essential to community college students and continued funding of them is critical: Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS), TRIO, and GEAR UP. Additionally, increasing funding for Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, Adult Education State Grants, state grants under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program would provide more opportunities for job training.

Reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Modernize higher education funding by updating this law for the first time since 2008 and creating aligned national programs to enhance community college student access and success.  This includes increasing the maximum award for Pell grants offered to the more than 25,000 Iowa Community College students annually. We also support extending Pell eligibility to short-term training programs and supporting students in meeting their basic needs while in college.

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