05.23.17

Senators Coons, Rubio reintroduce bill to help expand access to college for low-income students

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reintroduced the American Dream Accounts Act that would help to increase the number of low-income and at-risk students able to access and complete a college education. This legislation would authorize the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to support innovative and comprehensive partnerships that support low-income students in preparation for a college education. 

“If we want to ensure that American workers can compete in the global economy, we must ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to access higher education,” said Senator Coons. “The American Dream Accounts Act would bridge the opportunity gap by connecting students, teachers, parents, and mentors to create a new generation of higher education achievers through streamlining resources that would allow young people to prepare for, save for, train for, and achieve their dreams for their futures." 

“I was happy to join Senator Coons and Opportunity Nation today to announce the reintroduction of American Dream Accounts Act. Since its inception, America has been a unique nation where anyone from anywhere can do anything,” said Senator Rubio. “We must keep it that way and I believe one way to do that is to provide more pathways for children to attend college. The American Dream is what makes our country exceptional, and it is crucial we do everything we can to expand economic mobility and lessen the opportunity gap in America.”

Endorsed by Opportunity Nation, First Focus Campaign for Children, Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), I Have A Dream Foundation, National PTA, Delaware PTA, and Delaware State University, the American Dream Accounts Act encourages partnerships among schools, colleges, 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, and takes a small but significant step toward helping more at-risk students of all income levels access, afford and complete a college education.

The American Dream Accounts Act authorizes the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to local partnerships that:

·       Create American Dream Accounts (ADAs), personal online accounts for low-income students that monitor higher education readiness and include a college savings account.  ADAs would follow students from school to school and through college. Parents would grant vested stakeholders (including counselors, teachers, coaches, mentors, and others) access to the account to update student information, monitor progress, and provide college preparatory support.

·       Open college savings accounts for students. Every ADA would include a college savings account for each student. Grantees that can provide these accounts with seed money would be prioritized.  Funds from the grant could not be used to seed the college savings accounts.

·       Support college readiness by securely monitoring students’ progress online. Academic and behavioral information, including grades and course selections, progress reports, and attendance and disciplinary records would be available for review in an ADA, which would also provide opportunities to learn about financial literacy, prepare for college enrollment, and identify skills and career interests.

·       Collect data about effective ways to assist high-risk students in planning for college through a comprehensive monitoring and reporting system.

"Senator Coons always puts students first which is indicative of his dedication to the American Dreams Accounts Act. PTA believes that all children deserve an opportunity to a fair and equitable education including making every student’s dream a reality,” said Yvonne Johnson, VP Advocacy Delaware PTA.

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Press Contact

Sean Coit at 202-224-5042 or Sean_Coit@coons.senate.gov