At the very end of September, Congress passed a temporary extension on federal funding into December while it continues negotiations on other big pieces of legislation. This extension is very much needed, but we can’t let it kill the momentum to pass the Build Back Better Act quickly and in full. Every week that this historic bill is delayed is another chance for us to make the case for free college—and from there, a New Deal for Higher Ed.
The Build Back Better Act would be one of the biggest investments in higher education in our lifetimes—and at the same time, a down payment on the even bigger reforms and funding that our colleges need to serve our communities. We’re in the fight for the long haul to secure a New Deal for Higher Education. A cornerstone of our plans is the federal-state partnership in the Build Back Better Act, which (beyond providing free community college) would require states to maintain and increase their funding to all their public colleges. This model would reverse the trend of state disinvestment that has plagued our colleges for decades, and creates a path for us to get free college for all in future legislation.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this federal-state partnership. But every day that the bill’s passage is stalled, negotiations could weaken the higher education provisions—or eliminate them entirely. There’s been talk already of means-testing these new funds, or of abandoning this innovative model for college affordability entirely.That’s why we need you to tell your Senators and Representative: support the Build Back Better Act, and work to keep the federal-state partnership for higher ed in the bill.
It’s urgent that our elected officials hear from us as they consider how to move forward on this legislation—and also that we galvanize our colleagues to speak up. Can you send a letter using the link above, and ask your colleagues to speak up too?
Thanks for taking action.
Kaitlyn Vitez, AAUP Government Relations