The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, while three-quarters of new job growth will require some training and education beyond high school, and between 2000 and 2020, the number of workers with at least some college education is projected to increase by just four percent; and

WHEREAS, a college education is increasingly unaffordable to a large portion of the public, as evidenced by the fact that since 1980 the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition at a four-year public college has increased by 190 percent while median family income has increased by only about 18 percent; and

WHEREAS, as of 2005, only 19 percent of working-age adults with incomes below the median income had earned a college credential, compared to more than 46 percent of higher income adults who had earned a credential; and

WHEREAS, high school graduates trying to pay for college currently turn to an array of credit subsidies provided by federal and state governments and private institutions; and

WHEREAS, while aid available for higher education has increased, borrowing to pay for college is not a viable long-term solution for many students because the debt payments will be beyond their ability to pay; and

WHEREAS, students from lower income families are finding they cannot afford college because costs have increased so much faster than the caps for federal subsidies, such as Pell Grants; and

WHEREAS, the Administration has proposed significantly cutting or eliminating funding for Adult Education, TRIO programs, and vocational education - all important federal post-secondary education programs; and

WHEREAS, millions of low-income students don't benefit from current federal education tax incentives; and

WHEREAS, many states have state-sponsored college savings programs, but not all of them match contributions made by low- and moderate-income families to their accounts,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the federal government to: Increase the value of the Pell Grant for today's low-income students who cannot take advantage of lifetime learning accounts; Protect existing programs and benefits that help create an educated and competitive work force: Pell Grants, Adult Education, TRIO programs, and vocational education; Consider consolidating existing higher education tax credits, such as the Hope Scholarship, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the higher education deduction, into a single consolidated College Tax Credit that could be used at accredited colleges or universities by students and workers seeking to start or continue their educations, and in conjunction with lifetime learning savings accounts; and Link College Tax Credits to Individual Development Accounts to encourage low-income families to save, build assets, and work towards paying for post-secondary education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors urges state governments to provide matching grants to low- and moderate-income families as part of their state-sponsored college savings programs.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352