Blog: Federal Policy & Advocacy

Rep. Meng Reintroduces Bill to Provide Additional Supports to Community College Students

Monday, August 5, 2019  
Posted by: Sancia Celestin, Policy Intern
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Only 20% of full-time community college students graduate after three years, and just 35% graduate after five years.

To help more community college students make it across the graduation stage, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) reintroduced the Community College Student Success Act. The bill ultimately replicates City University of New York’s (CUNY) well- known Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). ASAP has proven to be very successful and has been found to consistently double the graduation rates of participating students. CUNY launched ASAP in 2007 with the mission to help students earn associate degrees within three years by offering a variety of financial, academic, and personal assistance.

The Community College Student Success Act seeks to ensure that under-resourced public community colleges with high percentages of low-income and minority students have the necessary funding to develop and implement support services that help students thrive and graduate.

Rep. Meng’s legislation would provide:

  • "Academic Advising: Advisors would 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.
  • Academic and Career Support: Students on academic probation or those have been referred to developmental courses would be required to meet weekly with a tutor. Students would 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.
  • Financial Support: Students would receive a tuition waiver to cover the gap between tuition and fees and financial aid. Additionally, students satisfying all of the above meeting requirements would receive a financial incentive, such as a gas card or pass for transportation, at least once per month."

NCAN supports this bill and applauds Rep. Meng’s acknowledgement of a program with demonstrated results. In our recent report, “The Growing Gap: Public Higher Education’s Declining Affordability for Low-Income Students,” we note that only 48% of two-year institutions were affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient in 2016-17. There is more work that policymakers can do in support to get more students through college.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)