Washington Watch: Advocates in Action returns this fall

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Advocates in Action meeting is back, set for September 22-23 in Washington, D.C. 

Community college presidents, trustees, government relations directors and other campus administrators are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with presenters, network, discuss key policy issues and advocate for critical federal programs.

Advocates in Action is designed to immerse participants in community college advocacy in the nation’s capital, both to help impact the community college agenda and to provide the benefit of intimate exposure and interaction with some of the top players in federal higher education public policy. The meeting is seminar style and held in the conference center at the National Center for Higher Education, where AACC’s offices are located. 

The two-day meeting will also allot time for participants to schedule meetings with legislators.

Issues on the plate

It is, unfortunately, quite possible that advocacy on short-term Pell Grant eligibility will still be required in September, and it is certain that funding issues, such as the Pell Grant maximum, the Perkins Act and numerous other key programs will be on the table. Some institutions may have community projects, formerly known as earmarks, also in play.

Related article: Taking it to the Hill

Attendees will also want to communicate to Capitol Hill AACC’s positions on key regulatory issues, such as gainful employment, Title IX and modifications to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Who’s on tap

Some of the individuals who are confirmed or expected to speak include:

  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), who, if the House shifts to Republican control next year, is slated to reassume the role of chair of the House Education and Labor Committee
  • U.S. Education Under Secretary James Kvaal, the top higher education official in the Biden administration
  • David Winston, a Republican-affiliated pollster with a focus on education
  • Michael Stratford, Politico higher education reporter
  • Elaine Kamarck, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution
  • Staff from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as well as House Education and Labor committees
  • Experts on federal student aid and workforce policy and legislation

Registration cost is modest given the event’s quality and length, and AACC has secured a reasonably priced hotel room block close to the meeting location with easy access to Capitol Hill. We hope that members will support this AACC event; we know that you will find it a beneficial and enjoyable experience.

Please let AACC’s Office of Government Relations know if you have any questions about your participation, and we hope to see you in September.

About the Author

David Baime
David Baime is senior vice president for government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges.