113th CONGRESS Second Session
The American Student Association of Community Colleges is a student-centered national network of student government through whose student leaders, representing the largest constituency of American higher education, learn, serve, speak and act in behalf of that constituency. Its purpose is to educate its members in the dynamics of organizational leadership and development, public service and political action. ASACC members represent nearly 12 million students enrolled in America’s 1,600 community colleges.
ASACC MEMBERS ARE MOST GRATEFUL TO CONGRESS FOR THE STRONG AND CONSISTENT SUPPORT OF PELL GRANTS.The Pell Grant program, the foundation of federal postsecondary financial assistance of low-income students, has not kept pace with the rising costs of college. Moreover, the program has been plagued by funding shortfalls that complicate the federal appropriations process and threaten the efficacy of the program. We urge Congress to make funding of the Pell Grant the number one priority for higher education in the deliberations of the FY2015 appropriations. Furthermore, Congress should restore Title IV eligibility for ability to benefit students and reject the provision that restricts use of Pell funds for distance education. More than any other investment in higher education, the Pell program provides access to students who otherwise could not realize the career potential so vital to U.S. economic competitiveness. INCREASING THE MAXIMUM PELL GRANT BY $100 AS REQUESTED IN THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET FOR FY2015-2016 TO THE MAXIMUM OF $5830 IS ASACC's NUMBER ONE PRIORITY BECAUSE PELL IS MORE THAN EVER THE LEADING ENGINE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act provides a path to legal status for thousands of undocumented students who were brought to this country as children, worked their way through high school,and now face an uncertain future. The DREAM Act returns to states the decision of whether to extend in state tuition to undocumented students. Since the Senate has already passed S.744 the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.," the House of Representatives should give the bill hearings and votes working with the Senate to ensure passage of the DREAM Act provisions in the bill.
STUDENT AND FAMILY TAX SIMPLIFICATION ACT
The Student and Family Tax Simplification Act combines and simplifies the three principal educational tax credits and deductions, the Hope Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and Tuition and Fees Deductions under the umbrella of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). This bill simplifies and targets the AOTC making it more accessible to the lower - income students it was designed to help. With sponsors from both parties for this bill ASACC encourages the House and Senate to pass this Act before the 2014 mid -term elections demonstrate their commitment to assisting families meet the rising costs of higher education.