WASHINGTON – Last night, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) designating November as National College Application Month. The bipartisan resolution encourages students to look toward their future and consider their college options. A companion is set to be introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-Pa.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.).

“Higher education provides an important path for students, but not all students are aware of their options. National College Application Month tells students to dream big and emphasizes the importance of exploring their resources and opportunities,” said Senator Coons. “I’m excited to bring my colleagues together in recognition of this important moment in so many people’s lives.”

"A quality education is the key to unlocking countless opportunities,” said Senator Tim Scott. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must continue working to ensure that nothing stands in the way of a positive future for our young people. With today’s resolution, we affirm our commitment to breaking barriers to higher education and encourage all students — regardless of age — to pursue their dreams and continue their educational journey."

“Too often, students feel discouraged from exploring higher education because they aren’t aware of all the available options,” said Representative Wild. “Before making a life-changing decision, students deserve to have the support they need to evaluate the possibilities of higher education and understand the complexities of the financial aid system. Through this bipartisan resolution, we are helping students break into higher education and ensure everyone has the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

“There are many opportunities for students to continue pursuing their education for a successful career,” said Representative Guthrie. “This month I’m highlighting the opportunity of higher education by designating November as National College Application Month. Kentucky’s Second District is home to many bright students and excellent higher education institutions. I encourage students to make decisions that are best for them in furthering their education after high school and applying to an institution of higher education is an option to set them on the right path to a great career. I enjoyed working with my colleagues to reintroduce this important recognition.”

Even though colleges and universities provide pathways to economic opportunity, there has been a decline in enrollment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for students in poverty and students of color. The complexity of financial aid systems and rising college costs can serve as additional barriers for students and families as they assess the viability of higher education programs. The bipartisan resolution notes that there is value in identifying and comparing postsecondary options, and it is important to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The resolution cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the unemployment rate for young adults with a bachelor’s degree is a full 20 points lower than workers with only a high school diploma. That gap has widened exponentially because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now almost 3 times higher than the overall national unemployment rate.

In addition to Senators Coons and Scott, the resolution was cosponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

ACT CEO Janet Godwin said, “This national recognition is a call to action for all of us to work harder to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential. The college application process can be confusing and daunting for students. That’s why ACAC events assist high school seniors, including those who are systemically underserved, with submitting at least one college application. We appreciate the President and members of Congress along with our partners for the collaboration on this important endeavor.”

Stephanie Owens, executive director of Reach Higher and vice president, student advocacy and engagement at Common App, said, “Education is the single most important investment one can make for their future, and it changes the trajectory of lives for generations. At Common App, we work every day to tear down barriers for students to be able to apply to college. I’m grateful to President Biden and Congress for recognizing the need to support students across the country in the college-going process.”

The full text of the resolution is available here.

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