President pitches additional funding
By Mitchell Roland - Staff Reporter
Highline President Dr. John Mosby was in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with lawmakers and discuss the need to fully fund higher education.
Dr. Mosby travelled to the nation's capital for the Community College National Legislative Summit, organized by the American Association of Com- munity Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees.
While Dr. Mosby said that he had previously traveled to Sacramento (California's capital), this was his first time travelling to Washington, D.C. for official business.
The annual summit took place Feb. 10-13 and brought more then 1,000 community college trustees, presidents and college leaders from around the country to hear from speakers and meet with lawmakers.
"What makes it unique is that it is structured to provide plenty of time for attendees to visit elected officials (members of Congress), their staff, and with program officers," he said. During his time in D.C., Dr. Mosby met with elected officials including Washington's U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and with Rep. Adam Smith from Washington's 9th congressional district. "We had a chance to talk directly with Senator Cantwell and Representative Smith," he said.
Dr. Mosby said that through these meetings, "We learned that our elected representatives believe in com- munity college students."
"They see community colleges as a key in creating accessible education and opportunities for social mobility," he said.
Dr. Mosby said that in Congress there is currently a major push to reauthorize the Higher Education Act which is "important for all colleges and universities."
The Higher Education Act provides funding for federal programs such as TRiO and TPSID, and it was originally passed in 1965. Sen. Murray is the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is tasked with writing any changes to the act. The Higher Education Act has to be reauthorized each year, and it has yet to be reintroduced in 2019.
While in D.C., Dr. Mosby said he was able to meet with an array of other people. Dr. Mosby met with program officers with the Department of Education TRiO Program, AANAPISI, TPSID, Veterans Administration, Study Abroad and Fullbright Scholars.
Dr. Mosby said that by meeting with the Veterans Administration, he was able to speak about the needs of veterans on campus.
"Our veterans need to have access to the educational benefits they earned through their service to our country and we should pro- vide a welcoming and supportive environment when they come to Highline," he said.
Dr. Mosby said that through these visits he was able to gain "insight into what is happening at the Federal Level and we were able to share progress updates on Highline programs and our student experiences."
Through summits such as this one, Dr. Mosby said that he is able to build relationships with politicians.
"By participating in the [national leadership summit], we continued our strong relationships with federally elected representatives and program staff and are able to remind them that their efforts in D.C. make a strong impact on students here in Washington state and specifically at Highline College," he said.
Dr. Mosby said that he hopes these summits and meetings with elected officials will help increase access to college for people in the region.
"We want to continue to be a leading college at pro- viding access to higher education to all students in our region," he said. "To provide the best learning environment, we need to continue to have programs like TRiO, AANIPISI, ACHIEVE that are funded through federal grants."
Dr. Mosby said that while he was in Washington, D.C., he learned just how much elected officials enjoy hearing from their constituents.
"They love to hear directly from students about their experiences and about their hopes, dreams, challenges and successes," he said.