Additional student support, thanks to the American Rescue Plan

During a visit Thursday to Bergen Community College in New Jersey, Dr. Jill Biden highlights how American Rescue Plan funds have helped community college students. (Image: Screenshot of streamed event)

White House brass visited Bergen Community College (BCC) on Thursday to announce newly available American Rescue Plan funds, spotlighting how the New Jersey college is using federal funds to help its students succeed during the pandemic.

A focus of the press conference held at the college was childcare services to help working parents and students with children. It featured a BCC student studying to become a registered nurse who uses childcare services for her two daughters through the college’s child development center, which allows her to attend college full-time.

“It’s everything that my family needed,” she said.

During their visit to the college, Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who were joined by Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey), announced $198 million in grant funds through the American Rescue Plan that will primarily benefit community colleges and their students.

Biden said there are many other potential learners who would succeed “if only we can move some of the obstacles out of the way.” She lauded BCC for the ways it used American Rescue Plan funds and other federal funding to support students, such as counseling and tutoring, and paying the outstanding college balances of more than 2,000 students.

Biden, who teaches at Northern Virginia Community College, also echoed a popular mantra of hers that community colleges are one of the country’s “most powerful engines of prosperity.”

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.