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As a constituent, you have the right to expect your elected officials to pay attention to your opinions. Action alerts are a simple yet effective way to have your voice heard. Complete the action alerts here to tell your elected officials why these issues matter to you and encourage your colleagues and friends to join you.

Send a message to your members of Congress and ask them to act now to Double the Pell Grant

Take Action in a variety of ways in asking Congress to double the Pell grant and take an important step toward college affordability. The Pell Grant program is the nation’s foundational investment in higher education. Pell Grants help nearly 7 million low-and moderate-income students attend and complete college annually. That is 40 percent of undergraduates at U.S. colleges and universities. Students from all 50 states and all corners of the country—from rural areas to cities to everywhere in between—rely on the Pell Grant program to pursue their college aspirations and achieve a brighter future. Nearly 70 percent of Pell Grant dollars go to students with a family income below $30,000 and nearly 90 percent to students with a family income below $50,000. Pell Grants are especially critical for students of color, with nearly 60 percent of Black students, and roughly half of American Indian or Alaska Native students and Hispanic students receiving a Pell Grant each year. The share of college costs covered by the Pell Grant is at an all-time low. Nearly 50 years ago, the maximum grant covered more than three-quarters of the cost of attending a four-year public college. After decades of state budget cuts that drove up tuition, combined with flat household incomes over the same period, Pell Grants now cover less than one-third of those costs. Unsurprisingly, Pell Grant recipients continue to bear disproportionate student debt burdens. Pell Grant recipients today are nearly twice as likely as other students to have student loans and those who do borrow graduate with over $4,500 more debt than their higher-income peers. Doubling the maximum Pell Grant is a good investment that will boost economic mobility. In 2018, the median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients with no advanced degree working full time were $24,900 higher than those of high school graduates. Bachelor’s degree recipients paid an estimated $7,100 more in taxes and took home $17,800 more in after-tax income than high school graduates.

Send a message to your members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act 

Take action by writing your members of Congress to provide a path to citizenship for students who were brought to this country as minors and who have completed their high school education, a proposal commonly known as the “DREAM Act.” A number of bills, including HR 1177, S 348, and S 264, have been introduced in 2021 to address this issue. For decades, educators and national organizations have supported the DREAM Act to assist the tens of thousands of undocumented students who graduate from American high schools each year, yet are left with few, if any, postsecondary educational options because of an outdated and confusing provision in existing immigration law. Far too many years have passed without providing these students the opportunity they deserve. As Justice William Brennan concluded in the landmark Plyler v. Doe case that granted undocumented students access to K-12 public education, “[W]hatever savings might be achieved by denying these children an education, they are wholly insubstantial in light of the costs involved to these children, the State, and the Nation.”

Send a message to your members of Congress to support HR 2700.

Take action by writing your members of Congress and urge them to support accountability for for-profit colleges seeking to convert to non-profit status. This legislation provides critical protections for students and taxpayers against waste, fraud, and abuse at the hands of predatory colleges that seek to convert to non-profit status without a meaningful change in their operations. According to The Century Foundation, "Three core findings stand out in the new report. First, when ownership seeks to preserve some sort of insider role with the nonprofit school, conversions can become compromised, causing leadership and resources to be diverted from the college’s educational mission and instead steered into growing the former owner’s bank account. Of the nearly sixty conversions that GAO examined, insiders continued to play a role in the newly established nonprofit in roughly one-third. The GAO found that, among converted schools, those in which an insider continued to play a role account for the vast majority of federal aid, have worse financial performance, and risk improperly channeling profits to those insiders. Second, IRS tax-exempt status is wholly inadequate for assessing whether a school is actually nonprofit in the way it is operating. And third, neither the IRS nor the Department of Education are doing enough to address the problem."

Send a message to your members of Congress to support the POST act. 

Take action by asking your members of Congress to support The Protect Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act. For years, predatory colleges have taken advantage of a loophole in federal law to exploit Veterans and active duty service members, enrolling them through high-pressure, misleading sales tactics and leaving them with little in the way of an education but often tens of thousands of dollars of student debt. The Protect Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act would close that loophole, ensuring that postsecondary institutions do not simply target Veterans and servicemembers for their GI Bill and Department of Defense Tuition Assistance benefits. 

Send a message to your federal elected officials in support of NACAC's college access priorities.

Take action by sending a message to Congress and offer your perspectives on education policy for 2021. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), has developed a set of priorities intended to emphasize higher education as a public good. The payoffs on public investments in higher education to the individual include higher earnings; increased participation in civic society; greater efficacy in political and personal life; greater satisfaction with life; and a host of other benefits. The society also benefits from citizens with advanced education – more skills for innovation and employment, greater political engagement, higher earnings (and therefore taxes), improved workforce and economic output, less imprisonment, and reduced need for some social safety net programs. As such, we benefit exponentially from the investments we make in higher education as a country.

Encourage your members of Congress to support school counselors

Write to your members of Congress to encourage their support for HR 614, the “Put School Counselors Where They Are Needed Act.” School counselors can make a big difference in the lives of students. However, many students have limited to no access to a school counselor, as student-to-counselor ratios exceed 450:1 nationally. In some states, that ratio climbs as high as 900:1. HR 614 would provide funding for schools to hire more school counselors. We need your help to build support for this important bill in Congress. See here for more information about student-to-counselor ratios in your state and district.

 

Stay informed by receiving periodic updates from NACAC Government Relations! 

 

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