SEATTLE, WA – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Community and Technical College Investment Act, which would create tuition-free community and technical colleges in Washington’s Ninth District and across the country. The legislation would provide grant funding for states to offer tuition-free community and technical colleges and expanded wraparound support services that help ensure students are able to enroll in and complete these programs.
“Community and technical colleges offer a pathway to high-quality, good-paying jobs and we must do more to ensure that these programs are affordable and accessible for people across the country,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash). “The legislation I am introducing today would eliminate the cost of tuition and expand funding for housing, food, transportation, and other services that students need to complete these programs. By reducing these barriers, we can provide more people with education and job training opportunities that will get them into the middle-class and strengthen our workforce. This legislation would go a long way to expand access to economic opportunity for millions across the country.”
Statements of support for the Community and Technical College Investment Act:
“Higher education remains a reliable force for economic growth and security, yet too many students who enroll in college do not graduate within 6 years, with worse outcomes for students of color. These trends are increasingly troubling considering recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) which predicts that jobs requiring more education will grow faster than average. Congressman Smith’s proposals recognizes the need by ensuring institutions and students have the required resources to access and complete a postsecondary credential.” – Carrie Welton, Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy: Anti-Poverty & Basic Needs, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)
“The American middle-class cannot be sustained or grown without an educated workforce, and key to building that workforce is expansion of affordable and accessible postsecondary education. Community and technical colleges are a proven pathway to high-quality employment for millions of students and their families. Such institutions are also critical lifelines for underrepresented students entering higher education, as 51 percent of Hispanic, 42 percent of Asian, and 40 percent of Black undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges. By allowing states to make these institutions tuition-free and increase offerings of wraparound supportive services, the Community and Technical College Investment Act is an important step towards increasing the ability for everyone to pursue and complete educational opportunities and job training programs." – Christian Collins, Policy Analyst, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
“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, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC)
“Community and technical colleges can only be true engines of economic mobility if resources to support access, retention and completion are present for all community members. This legislation will provide those resources as it addresses financial barriers students face in paying tuition, accessing support services and covering the true cost of their education. Prospective students need to know that their pathway to economically mobility and social equity is through their local community and technical college.” – Dr. John R. Mosby, President, Highline College
“The Network for Public Education strongly supports the Community and Technical College Investment Act. Our community and technical colleges provide an important bridge between K-12 academics and the world of work or higher academics. This act will open the gate to that bridge for young people across our nation, allowing those with limited resources to gain the skills they need to begin meaningful and productive careers.” – Carol Burris, Executive Director, The Network for Public Education
“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 providing access to higher education for all individuals, regardless of their financial situation, we are investing in our collective future and giving everyone the opportunity to succeed. Community colleges, like Green River College, are a crucial stepping stone for many students on their path to higher education and a career. Making Green River tuition-free would remove the #1 student identified barrier to access and help ensure that all students have the opportunity to prepare for a successful future.” Dr. Suzanne Johnson, President, Green River College
“The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) believes that postsecondary education is a public good, as it confers benefits to both the individual and society. To thrive locally in our global economy, we would be well served to equip our citizens with the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge to adapt to a rapidly changing market. Rep. Smith’s Tuition-Free Community and Technical Schools legislation would deliver that opportunity to all Americans who seek it. NACAC is pleased to provide our support for this bill, as it builds a foundation for education beyond high school as a fundamental public good.” – David Hawkins, Chief Education and Policy Officer, The National Association for College Admission Counseling

The Community and Technical College Investment Act is endorsed by The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, The National Association for College Admission Counseling, The Network for Public Education, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Seattle Colleges, Renton Technical College, Highline College, and Green River Community College.

Today, Rep. Smith visited Renton Technical College for a roundtable discussion with students and staff, where he announced the introduction of his bill. From left to right: Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), Yoshiko Harden, President of Renton Technical College, Abubacar, automotive student, Stephanie Delaney, Vice President of Instruction.
A fact sheet of the Community and Technical College Investment Act can be found here. The bill text can be found here.