Rep. Fattah Tells College Access Conference Its Work Is Critical to Help Young People Succeed in Global Economy

Oct 11, 2010, 15:35 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the leading architect and advocate in the U.S. House of Representatives for college readiness and access programs, today told the National College Access Network that its work on behalf of young people from low income and modest backgrounds was urgently needed in the current economic climate.

"Our efforts to prepare underserved young people for the rigors of college and for opportunities in the work force have never received more support by any President or Administration than they have right now," Fattah said. "And those efforts have never been more critically needed as our young people prepare to face the competition from India, China and the rest of the global economy."

Fattah received a standing ovation from 700 educators, corporate and foundation funders and advocates for community based college access programs as he addressed the Columbus Day kickoff luncheon for the National College Access Network's 15th Annual Conference at the Hilton Washington Hotel. 

 Fattah, chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus and Pennsylvania's senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, has been the author and chief advocate for college readiness, preparation and scholarship programs enacted during his eight terms in the House. He has been recognized by NCAN and other national education organizations as the outstanding voice in Congress on a range of education reform issues.

Today's luncheon audience included officials from GEAR UP – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – which Fattah authored in 1998. Since guiding the innovative program into law, the eight-term Philadelphia Congressman has led efforts to obtain $3 billion in GEAR UP funding for 49 states, Puerto Rico and American territories, impacting 12 million youth in sixth through 12th grades.

Also represented at the NCAN Conference were educators from Project GRAD, Upward Bound, TRIO and the Philadelphia based CORE (College Opportunity Resources for Education) and student loan programs – all innovative national and local programs that Fattah designed or championed.

Fattah wrote the American Opportunity Tax Credit that was included in the 2009 Recovery Act. It provides up to $2,500 in tax credits for tuition and other expenses for low and moderate income college students. Fattah also pushed for recent increases in Pell Grant funding.

"These programs are leveling the playing field for our young people who need and deserve strong support from their families, their communities and from educators like you if they are to achieve their life's dreams," Fattah said.  

"We live in a global economy and our young people must compete in a global economy. President Obama understands this challenge. He has been the most education-friendly, education-savvy President in our lifetime," Fattah said. "Young people need a hand up to realize that a college degree and improved life chances are within their grasp. Keep up your important work and keep the dream alive."

Contact Ron Goldwyn at ron.goldwyn@mail.house.gov or 215-387-6404

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah