America's College Promise Act of 2015

July 8, 2015

This morning, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced legislation, the America's College Promise Actof 2015, into the House of Representatives modeled on President Obama's America's College Promise proposal, introduced in February.  Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is expected to introduce the legislation to the Senatepresently.  This legislation proposes to build upon existing local and state-based models, such as the Tennessee Promise and new legislation passed this week by the Oregon legislature, by offering tuition-free community college education to more than 9 million Americans each year.  ACCT supports the proposed legislation, which is a tremendous vote of confidence that recognizes the economic, educational, and societal value our colleges contribute to the nation and which would guarantee unprecedented access to higher education for all Americans.  The America's College Promise Act highlights the need for additional investment in and resources provided to America's community colleges. 

ACCT has been working closely with both chambers of Congress to guide the crafting of this legislation, factoring in considerations unique to our sector of education.  We are extremely grateful that our counsel has been welcomed and well received, and that this legislation will be introduced formally for consideration in the House and Senate. 

For legislation details, see our America's College Promise Act of 2015 fact sheet. 

With the legislation now introduced, we urge you to contact your members of Congress immediately and tell them to support this new drafted legislation.  Some key talking points to discuss include:

  • Both the federal government and state governments recognize the great importance of community colleges to educating our nation's students, training them for jobs that pay living wages, and contributing to local, state, and national economies. 
  • Congress should act immediately to realize America's college promise to guarantee a universal two years of higher education to every student in the country.
  • The proposed legislation includes stringent guidelines to ensure strong academic performance by students who receive funding, and strong institutional performance by colleges that award the funding to students.  This proposal is an investment that will yield a better-educated students, more competent and competitive workers, and stronger state and national economies for generations to come.

Later this summer, ACCT will release a toolkit for trustees relating to the college promise campaign, with step-by-step guidance on how you can contribute to the grassroots effort to keep the promise of a universal two years of college education to all Americans that was initially made in 1947 by the Truman Commission.   

For more information about the newly proposed legislation, contact Jee Hang Lee, vice president for public policy and external relations, at jhlee@acct.org, or Jennifer Stiddard, senior public policy associate, at jstiddard@acct.org

Thank you for the work you do every day.  Your support of this historic national imperative will be one of the most important things you will have ever done for this country and for your college.  Thank you in advance for using your voice to make a real difference. 

Sincerely, 

     J. Noah Brown
     President and CEO