WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after introducing the Community and Technical College Investment Act, which would eliminate the cost of community and technical schools for students across the country. The Community and Technical College Investment Act would provide funding for states to implement tuition-free community and technical schools and establish and expand wraparound support services to help reduce financial barriers that prevent some students from enrolling in and completing these programs.
“Community and technical colleges offer a pathway to good-paying jobs, but the barriers to obtaining these degrees and credentials has grown in recent decades. The bill I’m introducing today - the Community and Technical College Investment Act - would expand access to these programs by providing states with funding to be able to offer tuition-free community and technical college. The bill would also establish and expand wraparound support services, including housing, food, and transportation services, that are critical to enabling students to complete their programs. Everyone across the country should have the ability to pursue educational opportunities and job training programs without being burdened by debt. The Community and Technical College Investment Act would help make this vision a reality.”
The Community and Technical College Investment Act is endorsed by several organizations, including the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Renton Technical College, Highline College, and Seattle Colleges.
See below for statements of support for the Community and Technical College Investment Act.
“Congressman Smith’s proposal to offer tuition-free community college would be a game changer for Washington state. Our 34 community and technical colleges serve people of all ages and backgrounds right in their local communities, providing the education and training that leads to well-paying jobs, career mobility and university study. Whether students are 16 or 60, urban or rural, just out of high school or working adults, our colleges prepare them for the next step up in life. Students can choose from variety of options that fit them best– whether they want an industry certificate, a degree, or training in the skilled trades – and we’ll support them all the way.” - Paul Francis, Executive Director, SBCTC
“This legislation could make the difference that allows a student at Renton Technical College or another two-year college to finish their programs. Reducing barriers to education, especially for historically marginalized communities-- it changes lives and helps meet workforce and industry needs.” - Yoshiko Harden, President, Renton Technical College
“By addressing challenges of tuition, support services and the true cost of higher education, this legislation helps our colleges to be truly student-ready. It empowers colleges like ours to channel our energy toward equitable completion of pathways to mobility, creating new futures for our students and for economic sustainability in our communities.” - Dr. John R. Mosby, President, Highline College
“Extending the promise of a college education and career opportunity to all Washington students, particularly students of color, underserved youth, and first-generation college students, will change lives, families, and communities. I’m a first-hand witness to this change. I’ve seen the success. I’ve felt the culture change in Seattle with my 10-plus years of involvement in the 13th year and Seattle Promise program. Congressman Adam Smith’s proposal for tuition-free community college with wrap-around services will greatly expand pathways for career and academic success for students of all backgrounds as they pursue their goals.” - Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, Acting Chancellor, Seattle Colleges
The Community and Technical College Investment Act would enable states to offer tuition-free community and technical college and expanded wraparound support services. The bill would:
- Create a new grant program within the Department of Education to provide states funding to implement tuition-free community and technical schools, focused on serving the highest-need students.
- Provide funding to states to establish and expand wraparound support services that support disadvantaged students in need of assistance with housing, food, transportation, or other non-tuition related costs.
- Establish an emergency grant fund program that can provide students attending public higher education institutions with emergency cash to help cover the loss of employment, childcare, housing, or other challenge that threatens to disrupt the ability of the student to complete their program.
- Require states to evaluate gaps and opportunities in the State workforce, higher-education, childcare, and human services systems and better maximize Federal and State resources to increase economic mobility and postsecondary credential attainment.
The full text of the bill can be found here.