We may be in the crux of the political election season, but the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) already has its legislative priorities set for after Nov. 6.
Topping the association’s watch list is how Congress addresses the federal deficit. If lawmakers don’t agree on a plan to reduce the federal deficit by Jan. 1, then an automatic 8.2-percent cut across nearly all federal discretionary programs kicks in (also known as sequestration).
It’s a package of automatic spending cuts that is part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. The cuts, which would total about $1.2 trillion, are scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2021, evenly divided over the nine years.
“How that plays out can depend on a number of things, but an 8-percent cut will be a very big number,” said Jim Hermes, director of government relations at AACC.
Pell Grants would be excluded from the prospective fiscal year 2013 cuts, but other programs important to student success and institution improvement would be reduced, including: adult education, TRIO, GEAR UP, Perkins Career and Technical Education, Workforce Investment Act programs, among others.
“Cuts of this magnitude would severely impair the ability of community colleges to provide Americans with the education and skills they need for the 21st-Century economy,” according to an AACC statement outlining its legislative priorities for the fall. “Congress must consider all avenues in devising a balanced-budget approach to deficit reduction.” <Read more.>