Although President Trump has been
front and center in the national spotlight
regarding his priorities for the country,
Congress has also had some shifts that
will undoubtedly affect higher education policies. To offer a glimpse at what
could be in store for community colleges,
Community College Journal posed a few
questions to Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC),
the new chair of House Education and
the Workforce Committee and a former
community college president.
CCJ What do you expect this year in terms
of the Higher Education Act (HEA)?
Rep. Foxx We have an opportunity to
advance bold, responsible and meaningful reforms that will strengthen
America’s higher education system.
With a new administration and new
committee members, it’s too early to
know exactly what reauthorization will
look like. However, we do have a strong
foundation in place that will guide
the work ahead, and reauthorization
remains a top priority.
CCJ What do you see as the role of
community college in containing
college costs? And what is the role
of federal government in helping to
contain college costs?
Foxx As a former community college
president, I know first-hand of the
important contributions that com-
munity colleges make to our society,
especially in terms of lower costs.
College costs have risen significantly
in the past decade, and while there are
a number of factors contributing to
that trend, the federal government has
only made the problem worse in recent
years. We need to get rid of the red tape
that is making it harder for students
to pursue their education quickly and
affordably. We also need to repeal
onerous, unnecessary regulations that
prevent institutions like community
colleges from providing new and inno-
vative ways for students to pursue and
earn a college degree.
CCJ What are your thoughts on
year-round Pell grants?
Foxx One of our priorities is promoting innovation, access and completion.
College is an investment, and the best
way to earn the return on that invest-
ment is to complete a degree. Innovative
solutions like a more flexible Pell Grant
program could help meet the unique
needs of today’s students and enable
them to pursue a degree more quickly
and at lower costs.
CCJ President Trump has talked
about developing more jobs (bringing
manufacturing jobs back to the U. S., and
creating jobs through his infrastructure
plan). How do you see community
colleges contributing to that?
Foxx Community colleges play an
important role in providing individuals
the knowledge and skills they need to
compete in the workforce. However,
there is room for improvement when it
comes to how we prepare students for
the millions of unfilled jobs in industries
critical to our economy. That includes
the manufacturing industry, but it also
includes jobs in fields like health care and
technology. One thing Congress can do to
help in that effort is strengthening career
and technical education, which remains
one of the committee’s top priorities.
We fully intend to advance C TE reforms
that empower state and local leaders, as
well as institutions, to be able to meet the
unique needs of their students and local
communities in better ways.
Q&A with Rep. Virginia Foxx
• Master of Jurisprudence (MJ)
• Master of Law (LLM)
• Graduate Certificate