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CSM President Dr. Yolanda Wilson Testifies on Capitol Hill, Requests Congress Extend Pell Grant Eligibility to Part-Time Students, Workforce Programs

March 24, 2023

Left, CSM President Dr. Yolanda Wilson testifies before a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee to ask members of Congress to extend Pell Grant eligibility to part-time students and workforce development programs. Right, Wilson displays a note given to her following her testimony from an attendee in the public gallery expressing gratitude for her advocacy. 

College of Southern Maryland President Dr. Yolanda Wilson appeared before a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee March 23 to ask members of Congress to extend Pell Grant eligibility to quality, short-term workforce development programs. During the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Public Witness Day, Wilson explained that support of Workforce Pell Grants for students in short-term programs is critical.

“Today I direct your attention to additional funding for the Department of Education to support much-needed increases to the Pell Grant maximum and for the Department of Labor to increase the capacity of community colleges to provide skills training and education and further expand registered apprenticeships across business sectors,” Wilson told the subcommittee after being introduced by U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer.

The Pell Grant is a form of need-based federal financial aid awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to help eligible low-income undergraduate students seeking a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree pay for college costs, including tuition, fees, room and board, and other educational expenses. But as Community College Daily reports, many times financial aid eligibility “excludes the millions of community college students who are adult learners attending part-time while balancing work and family responsibilities as they seek to attain a credential or licensure that can help them get a promotion or pursue a new job.”

Wilson further described the community college student population.

“The rich diversity of our community college students cannot be neatly categorized. AACC reports that of the nation’s 10.3 million community college students, 4.1 million are considered non-credit or workforce development students,” Wilson told the subcommittee members. “Of those students in credit-bearing programs, 65 percent, or roughly 4 million students, attend part time. Some are considered dual-enrolled, completing high school requirements while getting a head start on their higher education. Many are returning adults, balancing full-time employment, raising and caring for a family, all while taking one or two classes that require studying 6 to10 hours a week. And they are the under-employed who are working to gain the necessary licensures and credentials to boost their employability and stay current in their chosen profession.”

To hear Wilson’s complete testimony and to learn more about how increasing Pell Grant eligibility to workforce programs will be a game-changer for all community college students, click on the video below.

CSM President Dr. Yolanda Wilson written testimony for public record can be found here: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP07/20230323/115507/HHRG-118-AP07-Wstate-WilsonY-20230323.pdf


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