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Introduction from Emily Shields

Hello and welcome to week two of the Iowa Legislature! The Legislative Services Agency released their analysis of the governor’s budget and also presented their analysis of the education budget to the House Education Budget Subcommittee. To give you a sense of the session timeline, there are 100 days in this legislative session, and the 100th day falls on April 19. The first funnel lands on Friday, February 18th (the date by which bills need to be voted out of a House or Senate Committee to stay alive). The second funnel (the deadline for bills to be voted out of one chamber and out of committee in the other chamber to survive) lands on March 18th.

Student Legislative Seminar and Community College Day on the Hill

As you may have already heard, we decided to postpone next week’s Student Legislative Seminar and combine it with our annual Community College Day on the Hill. Both will be held on March 3rd. You can find an updated schedule here for SLS and here for CC Day on the Hill. We hope you will join us as we showcase our students and our efforts to support “Industry 4.0.”

2022 Legislative Priorities and Grassroots

Right now is a critical time to reach out to the legislators representing your College and make sure they know about our 2022 Legislative Priorities. You can find an overview of those priorities as approved by all Trustees at our annual meeting here. Below are details on our specific requests:

Invest in Community Colleges

Iowa’s Community Colleges rely on State General Aid and local property tax funding for core operations and staffing needed to sustain strong programs. We support increasing this critical funding by $14 million to keep up with rising costs and ensure we can meet today’s workforce challenges.

Programs and Policies to Boost Enrollment

College enrollment has declined in recent years. While Iowa Community College enrollment continues to be ahead of national averages, it is still a long-term challenge that needs to be addressed. We support funding and policies to boost enrollment into the future. This includes strategies for supporting high school students in exploring post-secondary education and training options, providing adequate funding to make education accessible to all, and other policies that help make education available to people at all stages of life.

Specific Requests:

  • Support policy changes and funding to boost FAFSA completion, particularly with underserved populations.
  • Support policy changes and funding to increase access to transfer degrees for place-bound students, particularly those in rural areas.
  • Add Last Dollar Scholarship eligibility for 18–20-year-olds attending part-time.

Collaboration to Meet Workforce Training Needs

Iowa’s Community Colleges play a critical role in education, training, and re-training for Iowa’s workforce. We support policies that maintain local decision-making in these programs so that Community Colleges can continue to support local communities and business partners in meeting their needs. We also support the adequate, ongoing funding of the Iowa Skilled Workforce and Job Creation Fund and New Jobs Training programs.

Specific Requests:

  • Increase funding to the Workforce Training and Economic Development (WTED) Fund by $5 million to expand capacity for critical workforce training programs.
  • Add Transportation as a targeted industry cluster for WTED funds given workforce challenges.
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