Community Colleges Host First Virtual Student Advocacy Day

Student Advocacy Day draws a virtual crowd of community college students to Annapolis

Over 230 students from Maryland’s 16 community colleges came together in Annapolis on Tuesday morning for the 21st Student Advocacy Day, an annual event, hosted by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC), organized to connect legislators with community college students in their districts to help inform voting decisions on community college funding and policy.

According to a press release:

State Senators Mary Beth Carozza, Sarah K. Elfreth, and Delores G. Kelley each sent greetings and encouragement with recorded video messages. Senator Kelley explained to students how important it is for legislators to hear from them so they can understand the impact of legislation. Senator Elfreth shared that her earliest legislative experience in college set her on the course to her current office and being Maryland’s youngest-ever female senator. And Senator Carozza expressed her support for strong funding of community colleges to enhance affordability.

Maryland’s Secretary of Higher Education, Dr. James D. Fielder, spoke to the students live and encouraged students to, “Make sure legislators hear your voice.”

Two students, Jerrel Johnson and Alan Whelan, from Prince George’s Community College and Frederick Community College respectively, were selected from a competitive process among students at all 16 colleges and shared their stories of overcoming prejudice, self-doubt and poverty. Comments in the virtual chat that accompanied their speeches, contained words of encouragement and validation.

Community college funding is always an important issue and Maryland’s record, though better than many others, has missed its funding goals. Despite creating a formula to calculate equitable funding of community colleges, Maryland has rarely followed it. Instead, Maryland frequently recalculates its formula to reduce its contributions, cumulatively shorting the state’s community colleges by $140 million since 2008.

After this morning’s kick-off rally, students are scheduled to meet virtually with their elected state representatives today and throughout this week to discuss implications of important legislation affecting funding, transfer, and financial aid.

The Maryland Association of Community Colleges is an advocate for the state’s 16 community colleges and the educational needs of the students they serve. Virtual classes, physically-distant practicums, flexible curriculums, and award-winning teaching staff serve full and part-time students pursuing academic degrees, career and technical certifications and enrichment courses at 23 campuses and 1000+ learning sites statewide.

Read the full press release for more information.