Introducing America's College Promise Act of 2015

This week, Congressman Seth Moulton joined Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Committee on Education and Workforce, and other congressional leaders at a press conference to announce the America’s College Promise Act of 2015. The bill, if enacted, would make two years of community college free and provide an affordable pathway for low-income students to a four-year college degree.

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"I'm proud to be a co-author of America's College Promise Act" said Congressman Moulton. “A highly educated workforce will be necessary for our nation to compete in the global economy. Today, cost and access are preventing too many Americans who want a higher education from obtaining one. We can, and must, do better for the next generation. It is time for our country to make college more affordable and accessible for all. This bill is an important step in that direction."

The America’s College Promise Act of 2015 stands to impact more than 9 million students at 1,300 community colleges and nearly 300,000 students stand to benefit each year, including the nearly 7,500 students at North Shore Community College’s campuses in Lynn, Danvers, Beverly and Middleton.

“Free community college will remove the final barrier for the lowest income students without impacting Pell Grants," said Dr. Patricia A. Gentile, President of North Shore Community College. “This initiative can extend education and skills certifications to new potential workforce members which will contribute to the growth of the Commonwealth. We look forward to working with the Congressman on the passage of this initiative.”

America’s College Promise is built on the premise that students should have the opportunity to access quality and affordable higher education that gives them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. Under America’s College Promise, students will gain:

Access and Affordability

  • Provides a federal match of $3 for every $1 invested by the state to waive community college tuition and fees for eligible students before other financial aid is applied.
  • Helps cover a significant portion of tuition and fees— for either their first two years or last two years of college—for low-income students who choose to attend qualifying HBCUs, HSIs, AANAPISIs and other MSIs.
  • Allows students to continue to take advantage of other state and federal financial to free up funds assist with other costs of attendance at school, such as books, room and board, and more.

Quality

  • Requires states to make tailored, evidence-based reforms of their public higher education systems that focus on improving completion and other student outcomes, such as mentoring for first-generation and minority students, dual or concurrent enrollment programs, and more.
  • HBCUs, HSIs, AANAPISIs and other MSIs will also be required to take on evidence-based reforms to participate in the program.

Pathways

  • Ensures that community colleges offer academic programs that are fully transferable to four-year institutions in their state, or occupational training that leads to credentials in an in-demand industry.
  • Provides federal funds to create a pathway to a four-year degree at any qualifying HBCUs, HSIs, AANAPISIs and other MSIs for low-income students transferring from a community college.