Community College Federal Legislative Priorities
FY 2011 Budget and Appropriations
AACC pursues legislation and funding to ease economic barriers for community college students and to enable the colleges to better serve their needs. Funding for the Federal Pell Grant program remains the top priority, which helps more than 2.5 million financially disadvantaged students to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses. AACC's advocacy efforts have contributed to an increase in the maximum Pell Grant from $4,731 to $5,550 during the past two years.
AACC also supports increased funding for vital institutional programs that enable institutions to assist minority and historically underrepresented populations. Two important Higher Education Act programs are Strengthening Institutions and Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Other programs singled out for additional funding in the 2010 budget reconciliation act include those for minority-serving Institutions, predominantly Black institutions, Hispanic-serving Institutions, historically Black colleges and universities, tribal institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian–serving Institutions, and Asian American and Pacific Islander institutions.
Federal workforce training priorities for AACC include the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, Workforce Investment Act, and the Career Pathways Innovation Fund (formerly, the Community-Based Job Training Grants) programs. Together these programs enable colleges to provide critical job training for millions of Americans each year. AACC also recognizes the need for federal investments in programs that promote college persistence and assist veterans.
Higher Education Tax Incentives/American Opportunity Tax Credit
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made significant changes to the $1,800 Hope Scholarship Tax Credit for tax years 2009 and 2010. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) that replaced it needs to be extended in 2010. AOTC provides a $2,500 credit that covers course materials as well as tuition and allows 40% of a student’s calculated credit to be refundable. This helps thousands of low-income students.
The DREAM Act
Community colleges continue to press for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which provides undocumented students with a pathway to citizenship.