Issues Spotlight

Americorps

Call or email your Congressional representatives now to save AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service! It takes less than two minutes.

AmeriCorps is a federal program that engages Americans in intensive community service each year at 21,600 unique sites including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.4 billion hours in service across America. More than 75,000 young Americans serve in AmeriCorps annually. They serve local communities, educate and mentor students, preserve the nation’s national parks and public lands, and even provide job training and various other services to veterans. 

For every dollar invested in the AmeriCorps program, there is a social return of nearly four dollars, a 300% return on investment in the program. Not only that, but education reform depends on AmeriCorps. Many organizations, WCAN and College Success Foundation (CSF) included, utilize AmeriCorps volunteers to staff their programs that advance education equity, access, and reform, focused on low-income students and youth of color. Even in light of how beneficial the program is, President Trump’s “skinny budget,” released March 16th, defunds the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the parent federal agency of AmeriCorps. This would eliminate all the good work the program achieves. Current funding for CSF/WCAN AmeriCorps College and Career Coaches expires in October.

Though President Trump wants to eliminate funding, it must also be agreed on by Congress—your representatives. These elected officials are responsive to their constituents; you can send them the message that cutting funding for AmeriCorps and CNCS is intolerable. Call or email your representatives and let them know that AmeriCorps is not a program that can be eliminated.

Go to the link below to find your representative:

House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Washington Senators

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Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant program provides need-based grants to students from low-income families with the goal of increasing access to higher education. The program provides funds for students from families earning less than $40,000 per year, with the majority of funds reserved for those earning around $20,000 or less per year. The grant enables these students to attend an institution of higher education, which may otherwise be inaccessible. President Trump’s “skinny budget,” released March 16th, calls for cuts to the Pell Grant program by the amount of $3.9 billion. This money is about 40% of the Grant Program’s surplus, which is reserved for when there are increases in need beyond expectations. Advocates state these funds could be used to restore the Grant to year-round funding, which would enable students to receive aid for summer term. Cutting these funds is withholding much-needed financial assistance from the thousands of vulnerable students who need it most to further their development and succeed in higher education.

However, the president does not have the final say over the budget—Congress does. This is where you come in. You can call your representatives and senators in Congress and tell them that cutting funding for the Pell Grant –and any college-access funding—is unacceptable. Education is the foundation of a thriving society and it must be accessible and affordable. Go to the links below to find your representatives, send them an email, or give them a call:

House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Washington Senators

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state need grant

Washington State’s successful student aid program – the State Need Grant (SNG) – provides funding for low-and-middle income students to attend 66 higher education and career training institutions throughout the state. The State Need Grant helps low-income students to ease the burden of the high cost of postsecondary education. Currently this program serves 69,000 students each year, with awards ranging from $1,412 and $10,868, depending on the student’s need and the type of institution attended. Although the program helps a large number of students, it leaves 24,000 eligible students without a State Need Grant award due to underfunding of the program. These students depend on the state funds to make higher education accessible and affordable. With the legislative session and budget negotiations underway, the WA State Legislature is deciding how to appropriate funds for the next two years. Call, email, or handwrite a letter to your state representatives today and demand full funding for the WA State Need Grant program, to ensure all Washington students have a chance to pursue their education dream and to help fill the 740,000 projected job openings over the next five years.  Click on the image to open a larger view of the map. 

Follow the link to find your representatives: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

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