Rep. Maloney joins with Rep. Meng to Boost Degree Completion for Community College Students

Jun 20, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) today joined Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-6) to introduce the Community College Students Success Act (CCSSA). This important new legislation will provide community colleges with funding to help their students stay in school and complete their degrees and is modeled after the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), a successful City University of New York (CUNY) program in place at LaGuardia Community College in Rep. Maloney’s district.

“Community college is an important pathway to a good paying job or a 4-year degree but too many students are unable to complete their degrees because of costs and other challenges,” said Rep. Maloney. “Based on the successful CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, which is in place at LaGuardia Community College – a school I’m proud to represent, the Community College Students Success Act will launch a nation-wide program to assist community college students in 2-to-3-year programs with a range of financial, academic, and personal support to help them complete their degrees on time. As a former teacher and policymaker at the NYC Department of Education, I have seen firsthand many of the challenges community college students face. I’m proud to join Rep. Meng on this bill to expand CUNY’s innovative program nationwide so that more students can get that community college degree they need and deserve.”

Community colleges are an integral part of our higher education system, both in New York and across the country. Unfortunately, graduation rates from community colleges are low nationwide. Only 20 percent of community college students graduate in 3 years and just 35 percent graduate in five. The financial burden associated with community college is too much for many of these students and they are unable to complete their degrees.

CUNY’s ASAP program was developed to address this problem. It provides community college students in 2-to-3-year programs with a range of financial, academic, and personal support to help them complete their degrees on time. This includes comprehensive and personalized advisement, career counseling, tutoring, waivers for tuition and mandatory fees, transportation benefits, and additional financial assistance to defray the cost of textbooks. ASAP has a proven record of success, nearly doubling 3-year graduation rates for participating students from 22 percent to 40 percent. The program saw similar success when it was implemented at a number of colleges in Ohio, demonstrating that ASAP is both scalable and replicable at the national level.

The Community College Students Success Act would build on the ASAP program by providing grants to community colleges across the country to develop their own, individually tailored programs that best suit the needs of their students. Like ASAP, these programs will help community colleges keep students in school, increase graduation rates, and ultimately reduce the cost per degree as more students graduate on time and prepare to enter the workforce.

Gail Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College said, “The Community College Student Success Act invests taxpayer dollars in the ASAP model which at LaGuardia, and throughout CUNY, has shown unmatched results in improving student success. This measure, by providing desperately needed federal funding to help students overcome financial obstacles and allow colleges to deliver high-quality advising and career support, will help more students graduate, improving their lives and that of their families. I applaud Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Congresswoman Grace Meng for advancing this important legislation and join them in calling for timely action in Congress.”


The Community College Student Success Act:

  • authorizes $10 billion over 10 years for the Secretary of Education to award to community colleges as competitive grants;
  • creates one-year competitive grants for schools to plan and develop student success programs;
  • creates five-year competitive grants for schools to implement student success programs; and
  • gives priority to institutions eligible for Title III and Title V funds under the Higher Education Act.

The program is intended to increase graduation rates so that students complete their studies within 150 percent of the normal time of completion. In addition to Rep. Maloney and Rep. Meng, other co-leads include Reps. Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), and José Serrano (NY-15).