U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Rep. Buck McKeon Visit College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita, CA — U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today joined U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., for a visit to College of the Canyons, one of the nation’s fastest-growing community colleges, to participate in a roundtable discussion on higher education reform with school administrators, faculty and students. Secretary Spellings praised the efforts of College of the Canyons and community colleges across the United States to make higher education more affordable and accessible to all students.
“As the population of America’s ’non-traditional’ college students continues to expand and evolve, we must focus more attention on ways to make higher education more affordable and accessible to these and all of American’s students,” Secretary Spellings said. “I’m honored to join Congressman McKeon today to learn more about the experiences of students at College of the Canyons and discover ways we can make higher education attainable for anyone who wants to learn.”
During today’s roundtable, Secretary Spellings engaged attendees about the educational experiences of students at College of the Canyons, particularly those enrolled at the University Center, a partnership with four-year universities to offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs on the College of the Canyons’ campus. Participants discussed flexibilities provided for “non-traditional” students that allow them to balance priorities like work schedules, childcare, and commuting, while continuing their education.
“In order for our nation to remain competitive in the 21st Century economy, our students and workforce must have access to affordable and flexible post-secondary education. The College of the Canyons is a national leader in this respect, and I was proud to showcase it with the Secretary today,” said Congressman McKeon. “I appreciate Secretary Spellings visiting the College of the Canyons today and for her continued work to bring a high-quality education within the reach of every single American.”
Secretary Spellings also recognized the leadership of Rep. McKeon and his efforts to further Congressional dialogue on important education issues facing our nation. To ensure our nation’s financial aid system is working ethically and meeting the needs of students and families, Congressman McKeon recently introduced legislation as a key step toward making college more affordable and accessible to postsecondary students. Additionally, Secretary Spellings highlighted Congressman McKeon’s efforts to reauthorize President Bush’s landmark No Child Left Behind Act this year.
“I appreciate Congressman McKeon’s leadership and deep commitment to ensuring all students are given access to a quality education,” Secretary Spellings said. “I look forward to our continued work this year on ways to improve educational outcomes for all students and families through higher education reform and reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.”
The President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget proposed funding increases that would make possible for community college students’ tuition and fees to be covered by Academic Competitiveness Grant awards and the maximum Pell Grant award, while providing up to $4,000 to cover these students’ living expenses. Additionally, the President’s FY budget President Bush’s FY2008 budget will raise the Pell Grant maximum for students to $4,600 next year, the largest increase in over 30 years, and $5,400 over five years, the largest five-year increase ever.
In 2005, Secretary Spellings initiated a national dialogue on higher education when she created the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The Commission’s findings were the basis for the Secretary’s action plan to improve America’s higher education system and provide students and families with more information and more affordable access to higher education.
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