Missouri Senator Roy Blunt received the National Education Service Award from the Association of Community College Trustees at the association’s annual legislative summit recently held in Washington, D.C.
In his time as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing education, Blunt led the effort to reinstate the Year-Round Pell Grant, an effort that would aid thousands of community college students in Missouri. The Senate’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill included a provision to reinstate year-round Pell.
Mineral Area College’s president, Dr. Steve Kurtz, chairs the Missouri Community College Association’s legislative committee. He said he appreciated Blunt’s leadership in making higher education more accessible to students throughout the nation.
“We were fortunate enough to host Senator Blunt at MAC last June while he was advocating for year-round Pell Grant,” Dr. Kurtz said. “More than 70 percent of our students receive some form of federal financial assistance, and most want to attend summer school. Those who are not financially able to do so risk not finishing their degrees. Year-round Pell Grants enable students to complete their degrees in an earlier time frame. We greatly appreciate Senator Blunts’ continued support of Missouri’s community college students.”
Additionally, under Blunt’s purview, the Appropriations Subcommittee increased funding for several community college priorities in FY 2016, including additional funding for such programs as TRIO, Adult Basic Education state grants, state grants under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Strengthening Institutions, and Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions — many of which MAC offers on its campus in Park Hills.
Missouri Community College Association Chairman Dr. Jon Bauer said year-round Pell is important to students who depend on the grant to go to college.
“Keeping Pell through the summer helps many students stay enrolled and persist to completing their degree,” he said. “Sen. Blunt understands how important this is to our students and has worked diligently to restore it. We were honored to help recognize him for these efforts.”
Bauer is president of East Central College in Union, Missouri, and presented the award to Sen. Blunt. Alongside fellow college leaders from Missouri, Bauer spent most of the week in the nation’s Capitol meeting with Missouri lawmakers and advocating on behalf of the state’s community colleges.