• 2014 Public Policy Agenda

    2014 PPA CoverAASCU is pleased to provide here its 2014 Public Policy Agenda (PPA), a compilation of federal and state policy priorities which guide the association’s governmental relations and advocacy efforts throughout the year.

    The PPA serves as a resource for policymakers, congressional staff, college and university leaders, and other stakeholders in the U.S. higher education community. The PPA is crafted by the association’s Governmental Relations and Policy Analysis staff with considerable input from the AASCU Council of State Representatives, and is approved by the full AASCU membership at its Annual Meeting.

    The 2014 PPA features a new user-friendly format consisting of 16 specific policy issues that are integral to an affordable, accessible and student success-oriented public higher education system. Each topic (shown at the left) features a summary of federal policy priorities, and if relevant, state policy priorities, followed by a concise issue summary, as well as links to selected resources. AASCU will work vigorously to champion these policy priorities in our collective pursuit to promote public policy that honors the long-standing commitments to the nation’s students and their families by the state colleges, universities, and public higher education systems that comprise the association’s membership.

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    AASCU Public Policy Principles

    AASCU’s public policy agenda is rooted in an uncompromising commitment to opportunity for the nation’s students and expressed through the following core principles:

    • Higher education is a common good that provides significant benefits to individuals and society as a whole. While the personal gains from higher education are widely acknowledged, the societal benefits are even more significant and lasting, thus warranting continued public investment. These include tangible returns through economic productivity and increased tax revenues, but even more fundamentally, through the promotion of an enlightened citizenry and greater social cohesion and inclusion.

    • America’s public higher education system stands as an embodiment of the nation’s democratic ideals. State colleges and universities accomplish this by promoting broad access to education for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background thus transforming society and setting a global standard. Amid fundamental changes in the state–campus relationship, this principle must not be compromised.

    • State colleges and universities are committed to delivering America’s promise through quality undergraduate and graduate programs that reflect responsible stewardship of the public investment; meaningful engagement of the social and economic issues facing their states, regions and communities; and the promotion of global awareness, understanding and competitiveness.

    • No American should be denied the opportunity to pursue higher education for lack of financial resources. Affordable public sector tuition and need-based federal aid are the two requisite ingredients for realizing this ideal.

    Federal Policy Priorities

    • Maintain sufficient appropriation levels to support a base funding level of $4,860 in order to sustain the value of the maximum Pell Grant award. 
    • Prioritize funding for the neediest individuals in any reform effort while striving for minimal impact on average award size and number of recipients. 
    • Support pragmatic rules in federal student aid programs that work to protect students, parents and taxpayers.
    • Support legislation requiring student borrowers to pursue all federal financial aid, particularly federal loans, before utilizing private market loans. 
    • Support a legislative change to require mandatory institutional certification of private loans issued by lenders.
    • Support the passage and implementation of the DREAM Act. 
    • Work to devise more accurate student progress and completion measures that account for the persistence and success of all students, including transfer and part-time students.
    • Encourage federal policymakers to further explore and consider the inclusion of thoughtfully-crafted maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions in future federal higher education bills. 
    • Make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) - (Extended five years by the American Taxpayer Relief Act.)
    • Improve teacher preparation through the strengthening and dedication of federal funds for higher education programs.

    Download 2014 PPA (pdf)


    State Policy Priorities

    • Increase state operating support for public colleges and universities in order to mitigate tuition increases and maintain college affordability.
    • Support equitable performance funding incentives that promote degree completion, especially among adult and at-risk students.
    • Include state colleges and universities as a partner in statewide economic development efforts.
    • Advocate for states to prioritize and invest in need-based grant programs.
    • Encourage states to provide qualified undocumented students with the ability to enroll in public postsecondary institutions and access to in-state resident tuition rates.
    • Support the development and utilization of comprehensive student-level state longitudinal data systems.
    • Encourage states to align data systems to better recognize and support efforts by institutions and systems participating in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). 
    • Support existing state law and proposed legislation that ban concealed weapons from public college campuses.
    • Include all public four-year institutions in formal state sponsored programs designed to facilitate applied research and development activities.
    • Involve public institutions in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and align curricula for teacher preparation programs to ensure that students are college- and career-ready.

    Download 2014 PPA (pdf)