Tri-C Student Leaders Advocate for Pell Grant and the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in Washington D.C.

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By: Hannah Lovejoy, West Staff Writer

A delegation of student leaders from Cuyahoga Community College just returned from Washington D.C. where they spent four days discussing critical issues that impact community college students. The student government visited Ohio members of Congress to advocate on behalf of their fellow students for increased federal investment in higher education. The Student Government members of Tri-C met with nearly 250 other student leaders from across the country.

“The contribution of Tri-C at the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC) National Student Advocacy Conference was important for the students at their college,” said Phil Clegg, Executive Director of ASACC. “Pell Grant funding and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act are critical for all community college students making sure they have the resources needed to fulfill their educational goals.”

Tri-C students advocated for those priorities as they met with the offices of Senator Sherrod Brown and Marcia Fudge. During these visits, the student advocates discussed the importance of sustaining and increasing the Pell Grant and making it available year-round, as well as reauthorizing the law that governs all student aid which has been delayed for more than four years. With the current battle over the budget, spending and modifications to student financial aid programs, the timing for their visit could not have been better.

The meetings and workshops held over the course of the conference prepared the students for their meetings with members of Congress and their staff.  A highlight of the conference was an address given by Noah Brown, President of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).  He provided the attendees with valuable information on their priorities and thanked them for representing their colleges during this critical time.

Brown also spoke about the importance of student leaders having a presence in Washington, D.C. so their voice is not forgotten. He encouraged students to continue to be involved in the political process and in working and volunteering to make our country better.

Stephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru, addressed the students and provided insights on how to work with Members of Congress and their staff. As a former Chief of Staff and Legislative Director on Capitol Hill she brings a unique and entertaining flavor to the term “lobbying.”

On Sunday, March 12, four-time presidential candidate and America’s Number One Consumer Advocate, Ralph Nader was the conference keynote speaker.  He told students that the impact they could have is enormous if they can just join together in fighting for student aid programs.

The American Student Association of Community Colleges hosts a National Student Advocacy Conference each year in Washington D.C. and other conferences for training. ASACC makes leadership, citizenship, and advocacy central themes for the conferences and encourages students to become engaged citizens.

For more information on ASACC see

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