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Since their creation, the genius of community colleges has been their local focus.  It only makes sense that advocacy efforts often entailed engaging with local internal and external stakeholders.  In recent years, community colleges have become part of the national conversation centered on student success, workforce development, and economic viability.  This requires that our role in advocacy and policy development must now extend beyond the institution, the communities we serve, and even the states in which we operate.  Times necessitate that we become knowledgeable of the policies at the federal, state, and local level that impact our ability to meet the needs of individuals, employers, and our communities.

Institutions can be helpful in the policy arena by piloting innovative programs and making their data available as examples on the 21st Century website as a resource.  Colleges can also engage through educated and active CEO’s, Boards of Trustees, and student organizations.

  • It will be vital for AACC to develop college CEO and Board of Trustees knowledge and skills in policy and advocacy.
  • It will be most effective to create messaging that focuses on the problems that community colleges solve and the needs of students rather than to focus on the problems of institutions.
  • It will be important to have the ability to mobilize students, faculty, and boards of trustees at critical times.  Therefore, social media channels should be harnessed to support these strategies.  Policies must be data driven and the data should be easily accessible for advocates to utilize.
  • In the process, we must take the long view and be patient with a political process that does not often yield quick results.


Federal Student Financial Aid Helps Community College Students Pay for Their Education (April 2014)
This report examines the latest data from the 2011-2012 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12) of the U.S. Department of Education to show the characteristics of community college students, the price of their education, the various sources of financial aid, of which federal financial aid is paramount, to pay for their education, and information about loan defaults.

Recent National Community College Enrollment and Award Completion Data (January 2014)
This report examines the trends behind the decrease in national community college enrollments using the latest data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).

Additional reports can be found on the Reports and White Papers page of the AACC website.

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