Maria Quiñones Sánchez says Philly needs to pave the way for Community College access
Maria Quiñones Sánchez has signaled she is working on a coalition to increase community college access in Philadelphia.
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On Feb. 10, First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden tweeted in support of access to higher education.
“Everyone should have access to free community college,” Biden wrote.
A longtime community college professor and advocate, the First Lady added on a broadcast from Feb. 9 that the administration is moving forward with increasing such access, but left it quite vague.
In response, Philadelphia Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sanches wrote a Twitter thread in which she laid out her vision for the Community College of Philadelphia, and how it could be a leader for the nation.
“We need to pave the way for the future of Philadelphia to become [sic] the national pilot for the Community College access for all challenges set by Dr. Jill Biden,” Quiñones Sánchez wrote.
She added that education is a right that too many Philadelphians don’t get the chance to experience.
“Obstacles like Tuition and fees,” as well as “the costs of living,” disproportionately affect Philadelphians living in poverty.
We need to pave the way for the future of Philadelphia to becomes the national pilot for the Community College access for all challenge set by Dr. Jill Biden https://t.co/jFfNJBDqRB— Maria Quinones-Sanchez (@MariaQSanchez) February 11, 2021
The Biden administration campaigned on the promise to increase to two years of community college or training “without debt,” and Quiñones Sánchez isn’t the only one advocating for the promise to be delivered, both on the local level here in Philadelphia, and nationwide.
On Feb 10, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer announced a $30 million program to help 4.1 million people get free community college or a skills certificate in her state.
For Quiñones Sánchez, this shouldn’t be a movement where her community is left behind.
“CCP [Community College Philadelphia] is an underutilized asset for Philadelphia. The Octavius Catto Scholarship only began a step in the right direction,” she continued. “However, we have to be bolder.”
The Octavius Catto scholarship is one collaboration between the Community College of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia to provide funding for students living in poverty to overcome costs associated with tuition, food, transportation to school, and books.
Tuition can be free for up to three years, and students will also receive up to $1,500 for food, books and other costs impeding their education.
But as she said, it’s just a first step.
We need an aggressive plan and join the cities already funding this. Philly’s Community College should be at the front of the line of the federal opportunities. It’s time to get more Philadelphians on the path to success.— Maria Quinones-Sanchez (@MariaQSanchez) February 11, 2021
The councilmember proceeded with a solution: to move forward with a more aggressive plan and join cities already funding measures to increase access to free education.
“Philly’s Community College should be at the front of the line of federal opportunities. It’s time to get more Philadelphians on the path to success,” she continued.
Quiñones Sánchez ended her thread by indicating that she was going to make Community College access a priority. She is currently working with Rep. Dwight Evans and the Community College of Philadelphia to execute her vision.