Help Keep National Center for College Students With Disabilities (NCCSD) Open

By AHEAD posted 10-08-2019 01:09:56 PM

  

You can help to keep the National Center for College Students With Disabilities (NCCSD) open.

As an AHEAD member or supporter, I am sure you are aware of the critically important work the NCCSD provides to students with disabilities, their families, and college staff. You can help keep the Center open.

As you may know, the NCCSD, which is currently housed at AHEAD, is scheduled to close next June. We are working with Congress to keep the Center open through at least the end of next fiscal year, September 2020. This will give Congress time to plan for and provide funding for a longer-term extension of the Center.

While we have been successful in the House of Representatives, things are less than certain in the Senate. Over the summer Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Todd Young (R-IN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) let the Senate Appropriations Committee know they support the Center. Despite that, a draft bill has recently been released in the Senate that did NOT explicitly include funding for the Center, but did note that there is a continuing effort to keep the Center open.

Thus, to keep the NCCSD open, we need you to write and call your Senators:

  • If Senators Casey (D-PA), Cassidy (R-LA), Hassan (D-NH), Young (R-IN), or Warren (D-MA), to thank them and ask them to keep up the support, particularly in light of the draft bill that does not explicitly include funding.
  • If another Senator, asking them to request the Senate Appropriations Committee include funding for NCCSD for the 2020 fiscal year, or

Below we provide draft text and talking points for you to work from along with information on how to contact your Senators.

To maximize your voice, please send an email and call your Senators’ offices. You can contact your Senators in your personal capacity but including your role within higher education (work title, degree program for enrolled students, parent of …) will also amplify your voice. Finally, please share this and encourage others to support the important work of the NCCSD. The more contacts the Senators receive the better.

Once you have done this, please send a copy of your email to your Senators along with information on your call (when and with whom you spoke) to the AHEAD government affairs team (jmarmon@activepolicysolutions.com), so that we can reinforce your call with a follow-up with the office. Thank you for your help on this important issue!

You can find the contact information for your Senators at: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact

 

FOR SENATORS OTHER THAN Senators Casey (D-PA), Cassidy (R-LA), Hassan (D-NH), Young (R-IN), and Warren (D-MA)

 

Sample email text

Dear Senator [insert last name],

Please support keeping the National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD) open through at least the end of fiscal year 2020 by urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to including funding for the Center for FY2020.

[Insert your connection to the Center, if any, and/or connection to the issues of college students with disabilities. In other words, your background, if relevant, and specifically why YOU want the Center to stay open.]

As you may know, the NCCSD is scheduled to close in June of next year (2020) unless Congress acts. There is a bipartisan effort in the House and the Senate to provide long-term reauthorization of the Center with funding provided through future appropriations. Unfortunately, the Center will be closed before that can happen, resulting in wasted federal dollars going into closing the Center down and then more future wasted federal dollars going to starting the Center back-up instead of going toward helping students, their families, and colleges. Furthermore, while the Center is closed there will be no one to provide services to these students, families, faculty, staff, and administrators. The Center has already had to reduce operations starting October 1 due to lack of FY2020 funding.

There has already been a bipartisan push in the Senate to include funding for the U.S. Department of Education to keep the Center open through FY2020 and allow for the reauthorization and normal appropriation processes to happen without having the Center close. A similar measure was successful, with large bipartisan support, in the House version of this spending bill. But the Center still needs your help to ensure inclusion of funding in the Senate version and in the final reconciled bill. 

For students with disabilities and their families, administrators, and professors, there can be unique challenges navigating the higher education landscape, but thankfully the NCCSD is there to assist. It is therefore important that the NCCSD remain open and utilize the valuable expertise, resources, and outreach that it has built up.

The Center provides critical services to students, families, and higher learning institutions in [insert your state] and across the country. A lapse in these services would be detrimental to students in need of these resources and result in a loss of the time and money that has been invested in creating them. Additionally, the Center’s collection of data on retention and graduation rates of students with disabilities is poised to provide valuable insights both to students on which schools might be the best fit for them, and to institutions on where they need to improve. Continuing this research is essential to ensuring a successful college experience for students.

Given the importance of keeping the National Center for College Students with Disabilities  operational, I ask you to join in support of the effort to keep the Center open by contacting the Senate Appropriations Committee and letting them know of your support so that they include a measure to keep the NCCSD open by providing funding for the Center as part of the FY2020 appropriations process.

For the latest on the efforts to keep the Center open, please feel free to contact Jason Marmon at jmarmon@activepolicysolutions.com.

Sincerely,

[Your name, title, and address]

 

Sample phone text

I am _____________ (again if you can list a university position that is ideal), and I am calling to ask my Senator to please support the effort to keep the National Center for College Students with Disabilities open.

As the Senator may know, despite bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate to provide long-term authorization and funding for the Center, the Center is scheduled to be closed June of next year before that can happen. That is why the Senate should follow in the House’s footsteps, where a measure to keep the Center open through fiscal year 2020 gained large bipartisan support.

Please get my Senator to reach out directly to staff on the Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee to say [he/she] also supports the effort to follow the House’s lead to keep the Center open through fiscal year 2020 by including stopgap funding for the Center for fiscal year 2020.

The Center is important to me because [please personalize here] and important to the citizens of our state because of the vital support it provides to students with disabilities, their families, and colleges throughout the state and the country. We already see lower college attendance, completion, and meaningful employment rates among persons with disabilities. Closing the Center will only make matters worse. Also, closing the Center will result in the waste of federal dollars by having the those funds go into closing the Center down instead of providing services and then waste money again in the future in order to restart the Center and do the outreach, hiring, and resource gathering that would not have been necessary had the Center remained open. 

For the latest on the efforts to keep the Center open and to share the Senator’s support, the Senate can contact Jason Marmon at jmarmon@activepolicysolutions.com.

So again, please tell Senator [insert Senator’s last name] to let the Appropriations subcommittee staff know directly of [his/her] support for the bipartisan effort, like in the House, to keep the Center open through fiscal year 2020, while Congress considers long-term reauthorization and funding.

 

FOR Senators Casey (D-PA), Cassidy (R-LA), Hassan (D-NH), Young (R-IN), and Warren (D-MA)

Sample email text

Dear Senator [insert last name],

Thank you for your support to keep the National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD) open through at least the end of fiscal year 2020 by writing to Appropriators over the summer. But the Center still needs your help, and as a constituent, I am asking you once again to do what you can to see that funding for the Center is provided as quickly as possible.

[Insert your connection to the Center, if any, and/or connection to the issues of college students with disabilities. In other words, your background, if relevant, and specifically why YOU want the Center to stay open.]

As you may know, the NCCSD is scheduled to close in June 2020 unless Congress acts. And while there is a bipartisan effort in the House and Senate to provide long-term reauthorization of the Center, and the House, through a large bipartisan supported amendment included funding in their FY2020 bill, the recently released Senate draft bill did not explicitly include funding for the Center, but rather reported “the Committee will work to continue funding for this program in fiscal year 2020.” For that reason, I implore you to please to take what additional actions you can to see that the Center obtains the FY2020 funding it needs to stay open.

Already, as of October 1, the Center has had to reduce operations due to lack of FY2020 funding. And should this continue, the Center will be closed by June resulting in wasted federal dollars going into closing the Center down and then more future wasted federal dollars going to starting the Center back-up instead of going toward helping students, their families, and colleges. Furthermore, while the Center is closed there will be no one to provide services to these students, families, faculty, staff, and administrators.

For students with disabilities and their families, administrators, and professors, there can be unique challenges navigating the higher education landscape, but thankfully the NCCSD is there to assist. It is therefore important that the NCCSD remain open and utilize the valuable expertise, resources, and outreach that it has built up.

As you know, the Center provides critical services to students, families, and higher learning institutions in [insert your state] and across the country. A lapse in these services would be detrimental to students in need of these resources and result in a loss of the time and money that has been invested in creating them. Additionally, the Center’s collection of data on retention and graduation rates of students with disabilities is poised to provide valuable insights both to students on which schools might be the best fit for them, and to institutions on where they need to improve. Continuing this research is essential to ensuring a successful college experience for students.

Given the importance of keeping the National Center for College Students with Disabilities  operational, I ask you to continue to do what you can to get funding for the Center for FY2020 and get that funding as soon as possible so that the Center can return to full operations and stop the closure efforts.

Sincerely,

[Your name, title, and address]

 

Sample phone text

I am _____________ (again if you can list a university position that is ideal), and I am calling to thank the Senator for calling on Appropriators to stop the closure of the National Center for College Students with Disabilities. But the Center still needs the Senator’s support to ensure it gets funding for fiscal year 2020, and as a constituent, I am urging the Senator to again take action in this regard.

As the Senator may know, a draft fiscal year 2020 Labor, HHS Appropriations bill was released that did NOT contain, despite the Senator’s urging, funding for the Center. In the report for the draft letter though, was language that, and I quote, “the Committee will work to continue funding for this program in fiscal year 2020.”

To that end, I urge my Senator to again reach out directly to staff on the Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee to say [he/she] wants, for the final bill, the Senate to follow the House’s lead to keep the Center open through fiscal year 2020 by including stopgap funding for the Center in the FY 2020.

The Center is important to me because [please personalize here] and important to the citizens of our state because of the important support it provides to students with disabilities, their families, and colleges throughout the state and throughout the country. We already see lower college attendance, completion, and meaningful employment rates among persons with disabilities. Closing the Center will only make matters worse. Also, closing the Center will result in waste of federal dollars by having the those funds go into closing the Center down instead of providing services and then waste money again in the future in order to restart the Center and do the outreach, hiring, and resource gathering that would not have been necessary had the Center remained opened.

So again, please tell my Senator, along with any other appropriate actions in this regard, to again let the appropriation subcommittee staff know directly of [his/her] support for the bipartisan effort, like in the House, to keep the Center open through fiscal year 2020 through fiscal year 2020 funding.

Additional NCCSD background info 

Authorization: Congress originally authorized the NCCSD as part of the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

  • Title VII Part D, Subpart 4, sections - 776-778 [20 U.S.C. 1140p-r] - National Technical Assistance Center; Coordinating Center
  • There are authorized to be appropriated to create and run the Center such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009 and each of the five succeeding fiscal years. SEC. 778. [20 U.S.C. 1140r] AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
    • Listed in the CFDA under 84.116D 

Appropriations: The Center received funding as part of the FY2015 federal spending bill. It was appropriated $2.5 million under the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).

U.S. Department of Education description: Can be found here.

  • Program Type: Discretionary/Competitive Grants
  • Also Known As: NCITSPSD; the Center

Current Center

  • FY2015 appropriations appropriated $2.47 million for 1 award for level funding for 3 years
    • Extended to 4 years almost immediately after awarded by the U.S. Department of Education
    • Then during the first year, the U.S. Department of Education further extended the project to 5 years without providing additional funds
  • Established December 1, 2015 
  • Earlier this year, the House passed a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Education for FY2020 that included an amendment from Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) to provide $250,000 for the Center
    • The amendment passed with large, bipartisan support
  • Over the summer, a letter was sent by Senators Casey (D-PA), Cassidy (R-LA), Hassan (D-NH), Young (R-IN), and Warren (D-MA) to Senate Appropriators encouraging their following the House lead to provide funding to keep the Center open in FY2020
  • In September, the normal process for approving funding by the fiscal deadline of September 30 broke down in the Senate, and Congress was forced to extend the deadline to November 21
    • Because this was an extension based on FY2019 funding, it did not include any new funding for the Center
  • As of October 1, 2019, the Center has reduced operations due to lack of additional funding
  • The Senate majority (Republicans) has presented a draft spending bill for the U.S. Department of Education for FY2020
    • Regretfully, this draft bill did not include funding for the Center, but did include an acknowledgement that “the Committee will work to continue funding for this program in fiscal year 2020”
    • The draft bill has yet to be voted on and there is still plenty of opportunity to change it, including adding in funding for Center
      • This is where asking your Senators to contact Appropriations Committee staff can be crucial in making this happen.
    • Even still, should the Senate ultimately not include funding, Congress will need to convene a conference to work out differences between the Senate and House bills
      • Here too, pressure from constituents can further help convince the conference to maintain the funding included in the House bill
    • The Center is scheduled to close June 2020 unless there is Congressional action/funding
    • It is a federally-funded project under the U.S. Department of Education (P116D150005), through the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)
    • Home is at the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD)
  1. Provide technical assistance and informationto anyone needing information about disability and higher education, including college students, their families, faculty, college administrators and staff, disability services professionals​​​​​​​, researchers, and policymakers. It accomplishes this through their national online clearinghouse and through our student group, DREAM.
  2. Collect information and do researchabout disability services at campuses in the United States, sharing findings with the public. For more information, see their research page.
  3. Report to the U.S. Department of Educationabout the current status of college students with disabilities in the U.S.
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