America’s College Promise represents the largest expansion of college access and affordability in more than 50 years.
The Build Back Better Agenda is a historic plan that would ensure a more sustainable, resilient, equitable, and prosperous future for America and stands to benefit some of our most in-need Californians at a key moment. An integral component of this effort is the America’s College Promise (ACP) proposal, which represents the largest expansion of college access and affordability in more than 50 years. By eliminating community college tuition and fees for two years, the ACP would revolutionize higher education and mean a renewed chance at opportunity for millions of Californians. The ACP would dramatically reduce students’ total cost to attend college and lead to greater degree attainment, economic mobility, and a substantial increase in family-sustaining wages.
Reform is Needed
The strength of ACP is its foundational principle of broad-based eligibility. The ACP establishes a firm commitment that community college should be accessible for all, regardless of immigration status, income, or prior academic success. Designed as a universal benefit, the ACP is fully consistent with existing K-12 education in America today, which does not establish income limits as a condition of enrollment. This inclusive approach expands access to higher education while avoiding burdensome verification processes that often act as a barrier to student access. The ACP would send a clear message to all Americans that college is available to everyone, and that community colleges are the engines to economic and social mobility.
Builds upon California’s Tuition-Free Community College Investments
California Community Colleges offers free tuition to more students than any other higher education system in the U.S. Nearly half of our students don’t pay any tuition and fees through our Community College Promise Grant and Promise Programs. Nonetheless, the cost of college today goes beyond tuition; it includes textbooks and supplies, housing, food, transportation, and childcare. The equitable grant formula of the ACP recognizes the robust community college investments that states like California have already made and would enable California to receive up to $2 billion in federal funds over and above the cost of eliminating tuition throughout the system. These funds could be used to cover students’ total cost of attendance, which prioritizes equity by helping students stay enrolled and complete their studies.
Please support the America’s College Promise proposal, the most significant expansion of access to higher education in decades – and urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leaders to ensure that the ACP is included in the final budget negotiations over the Build Back Better agenda. Our students cannot afford to wait!