Support for Community Colleges at the National Level

This morning I had the opportunity to participate in a video-conference call sponsored by Interim Chancellor Gonzales with the United States Department of Education that included higher education leaders from across Arizona. Eloy Oakley, Chancellor of the California Community Colleges on loan to the U.S. Department of Education, provided an update on the Biden administration plan for community colleges. Below is a brief summary of the plan.

  • Committed to doubling the Pell Grant awards

  • $62b towards College Completion Grants (awarded at the discretion of the states)

  • Additional funding and support for workforce development

  • Free Community College Plan

    • 75 percent of median fees provided by the Federal government (increasing the match in the first three years – states would pick up twenty-five percent of the costs). Keep in mind that in Arizona, we have a much different funding structure as it relates to state funding for community colleges.

While it is exciting to see support of community colleges at the national level, should Biden’s plan move forward, seeking support at the state level will be critical. This conference call provided Arizona community college leaders to provide feedback to the Department of Education on this plan. Several strategies to address the need for state revenue or other sources for funds to address the “Free College” local match requirements were shared.

I encourage you to follow the status of the Federal level proposals that would positively impact community colleges as these move through the national legislative budgetary process.