June 27, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 109 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 109
(Extensions of Remarks - June 27, 2019)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E862] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT ______ HON. GRACE MENG of new york in the house of representatives Thursday, June 27, 2019 Ms. MENG. Madam Speaker, community colleges play a critical role in American higher education. There are over 1,000 community colleges across the United States. Nearly 40 percent of undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges. Of these students a large portion are first-generation, low-income college students, and half are students of color. Community colleges indeed play a crucial role in closing our nation's skills gap through education and workforce training. Unfortunately, many of these institutions are often under-resourced. This leaves students without the necessary support to complete their degrees. Access to college means little without degree completion. Studies show that only 20 percent of full-time community college students graduate after three years and just 35 percent graduate after five years. Research is also clear that students who do not complete a degree are at greater risk of defaulting on their loans. That is why, today, I am introducing the Community College Student Success Act of 2019, a bill that will help community colleges around the country by giving under-resourced colleges with high percentages of low-income and minority students the necessary funding to develop and implement comprehensive student support services. First, the Community College Student Success Act would provide academic advising, wherein, advisors will provide ongoing, academic, and personal advising to students including helping to clearly lay out a three-year graduation plan and creating strong transfer pathways for students interested in continuing their education. Second, this bill would provide academic and career support, wherein, students on academic probation or who have been referred to developmental courses will be required to meet weekly with a tutor. These students will also meet with an on-campus career counselor or participate in career services events at least once a semester to promote career planning and success. Third, this bill would provide financial support, wherein, students will receive a tuition waiver to cover the gap between the tuition and fees and financial aid. Additionally, students satisfying all the meeting requirements will receive a financial incentive, such as a transportation pass or gas card, at least once per month. Additionally, the goal of this legislation is to replicate the remarkable and proven success of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)--a program that was created and instituted by the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2007. This program has been found to consistently double the graduation rates of participating students. Madam Speaker, the Community College Student Success Act of 2019 ultimately seeks to help achieve student success through holistic and student-centered services. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and join me in helping community college students across the nation by providing pathways to upward economic mobility and more opportunities. If Congress truly values the importance of educating our next generation, we must increase our investment in these institutions and the students they serve. Each person deserves a quality education--no matter their background--because education is a civil right. ____________________