Opening doors to opportunity
In the new global economy, Americans who do not receive some form of higher education — whether it is professional training, community college or a four-year degree — will earn more than a million dollars less in their lifetimes.
Higher education can unleash our children’s potential for success and is increasingly integral to accessing the American dream. Yet devastatingly, a lack of basic knowledge about how to afford and apply to college has proven to be a barrier for too many students. Pursuing innovative solutions to fill that gap is critical to educating a new generation of achievers that will keep our country competitive well into the future.
Senator Coons’ priorities for making higher education more affordable and accessible for every student include:
- Implementing the American Dream Accounts Act. Chris introduced the bipartisan American Dream Accounts Act of 2012 to promote the kind of affordable, accessible higher education that unleashes students’ potential for entrepreneurship and innovation and provides a powerful ladder into the middle class for students from low-income families. This legislation encourages partnerships between schools, colleges, local non-profits and businesses to develop secure, Web-based student accounts that contain information about academic preparedness, financial literacy and high-impact mentoring and would be tied to a college savings account. Instead of approaching these threads independently, this bill connects students, parents and teachers across silos in existing education programs. It represents a small but significant step toward helping more students access, afford and complete a college education.
- Supporting early college high schools. Early college high schools are schools designed so students can earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree tuition free. This model has helped many low-income, first-generation college students acclimate to, prepare for, and afford higher education. That is why Chris cosponsored the Fast Track to College Act to support state and local efforts to implement early college high schools.
- Investing in community colleges. Community colleges are primarily two-year public institutions that provide higher education, including certificates, Associate’s degrees, and adult education, at generally a lower cost than other higher education institutions. Community colleges provide a flexible, accessible, and affordable education for their students. Chris believes supporting community colleges is a critical component to ensuring that more people can access higher and continuing education.