Who we are:
Serving the community college sector through practical solutions, informed policy development, and policy implementation, the Center was born out of the vision for the next evolution of ACCT by Jee Hang Lee, who began his tenure as the new President and CEO in November of 2021. The Center will have two focuses that run side by side. One will be to provide thought leadership within Washington, D.C. and throughout the entire country on key issues — from taking a deeper dive into enrollment declines, how student loans affect students at community colleges and looking more closely into how basic needs affect community college students. Second, there is an opportunity to provide professional development and technical assistance to give back to our membership for their continued support of ACCT so that they can succeed in serving their communities and their students.
How we work:
As part of the Public Policy Division, the Center sits between the membership and policy makers, and achieves its goals through a combination of case studies, research briefs, convenings, and supporting best-practice development through pilot efforts at ACCT member institutions.
Practical Solutions | Utilize projects to create solutions to issues facing the membership
Informed Policy Development | Relay the experience and perspective of community college practitioners to the larger advocacy conversation
Policy Implementation | Provide technical assistance to community colleges in implementing new policies and programs
Strategy of The Center
Addressing the Enrollment and Drop-Out Crisis
Increase enrollment by helping students access financial aid and expanding financial aid to short-term, high-quality programs.
To help address access to student financial aid, we advocate for/ eventual implementation of Short-term Pell, an increase in FAFSA completion rates at community colleges, an increase for Pell Grant funding, and exploring responsible borrowing at community colleges.
Increase completion through retention and re-enrollment using innovative pathways and whole-student supports.
Exploring whole-students support to increase completion, creating and sharing best practices around strategic enrollment management innovations. Additional supports for retention and re-enrollment are addressing stranded credits and related fees, as well as increasing Pell lifetime eligibility to 14 semesters.
Support community colleges serving key demographics.
We advocate for institutions serving majority BIPOC students (e.g., HBCUs, MSIs, TCUs, AANAPISIs), students who are parenting, rural student populations, and immigrant students.
Community College Systemic Support
Advocate for strengthening the community college system.
We advocate for creating a federal college completion program and a Federal-State partnership which supports community college-based workforce training programs through continued delivery of adaptive instructional models. Additionally, creating a data infrastructure that serves community colleges in collecting information on students, specifically for non-credit and workforce students and about individuals that transfer or are non-traditionally enrolled.
The Future of Work
Strengthen the link between community colleges and the workforce development system
We support pathways and competency-based learning, creating resources to improve strategic industry partnerships, and developing best practices around community colleges as workforce intermediaries. Increasing community colleges serving as apprenticeship hubs and internship/apprenticeship sites.
Federal Grant Opportunities
Support the Center
The Center for Policy and Practice welcomes support from Foundations and corporate philanthropy and, along with the Government Relations team, will continue to listen to the needs of the membership and advocate for policies that move community colleges and higher education forward.