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Expanding Access to Affordable Higher Education

To strengthen our nation’s economic prosperity, we must invest in its future. That means supporting teachers, protecting our most disadvantaged students, helping low-income families save for college, and ensuring that higher education prepares students for success. Senator Coons was proud to vote for the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to help states and school districts serve the needs of students of all backgrounds. Still, he knows that there is more work to be done if we are to ensure students are excelling in reading, science, and math, equipping them with the skills that will be central to our twenty-first century economy. Senator Coons will continue to:

Help students of all backgrounds pursue college degrees. Access to higher education, particularly for the most disadvantaged students, is crucial to closing the achievement gap we’ve seen develop in so many communities. In order to place these children on a path to success, we need to encourage them to pursue their dreams from a young age. In fact, research shows that low- and moderate-income children with college savings of up to $500 are four times more likely to graduate from college. That’s why Senator Coons introduced the American Dream Accounts Act with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, which will help break down barriers in college access through combining web-based college savings accounts with high-impact mentoring.  A provision based on Sen. Coons’ bill was signed into law in 2018 by President Trump through the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Partnerships like these are already benefiting young Delawareans, and Senator Coons remains dedicated to promoting low-income access to higher education across the nation.

Increase college access and graduation rates. Given that a postsecondary degree is an increasingly vital ticket to achieving the American Dream, we must encourage institutions of higher education to enroll more low-income students and ensure that these students actually graduate with a degree. That’s why Senator Coons introduced the Access, Success, and Persistence In Reshaping Education Act, or ASPIRE Act for short. This legislation will spur the nation’s institutions of higher education to enroll more low-income students and to ensure that these students actually graduate with a degree. With college costs and student debt soaring, families and taxpayers alike deserve to know that their significant investments in higher education are being put to good use.

Support national service. As a proud co-chair of the bipartisan National Service Congressional Caucus and a lead appropriations champion committed to robust funding for the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), Senator Coons recognizes the valuable role national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, play in our communities. He has been proud to lead the charge in Congress, advocating for stronger investments in national service so that all young Americans are able to serve their country in some way – whether through military or civilian service – to develop their skills, learn about their nation, and earn college tuition funds.  Sen. Coons fought for increased funding for CNCS and was pleased to see an almost $20 million increase for the agency in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill.