East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer, representing the Missouri Community Colleges Association, honored Missouri Senator Roy Blunt with the National Education Service Award this week. It was presented at The National Legislative Summit in the nation’s capital – an advocacy event that brings together more than 1,000 community college leaders to shine a spotlight on the importance of community colleges.
Presented annually during the summit, the award honors a national leader who makes extraordinary contributions to national public policies that support education, training and post-secondary learning.
As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing education, Blunt has been a leader in the reinstatement of 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. Additionally, under Blunt’s purview, the Appropriations Subcommittee increased funding for several community college priorities in FY 2016, including additional funding for TRIO, GEAR UP, Adult Basic Education state grants, state grants under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Strengthening Institutions, and Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions.
“Senator Blunt was honored for his work on restoring year-round Pell and other issues important to community colleges,” said Dr. Bauer. “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. Sen. Blunt understand how important this is to our students and has worked diligently to restore it.”
The National Legislative Summit is designed to inform and educate community college leaders on federal policy issues that impact postsecondary institutions and students. Participants hear from members of U.S. Congress, leading political analysts and other high-profile speakers about the current climate in D.C., recent elections and legislative issues impacting community colleges.
“Missouri community colleges, including East Central College, provide the workforce for the local businesses in the communities that created us, and our programs are as diverse as our state,” said Dr. Bauer. “We offer an affordable, high quality education to anyone willing to work for it.”