Government Relations Committee

Take a look below to see how you can get involved, but first meet our Government Relations Committee (GRC)...

Chair: Ginger Miller, Landon School (MD)

Vice-Chair: Nick Orban, University of Maryland, College Park (MD)

Committee Members:

  • Christine Butler, George Washington University (DC)
  • Suzanne Carter, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (DC)
  • Becky Claster, Claster Education (DC)
  • Caroline Faris, Independent Counselor (VA)
  • Jayne Fonash, Loudoun Academy of Science (VA)
  • Beth FusonPathways College Advising (MD)
  • Katie McEnroe, Holton-Arms Academy (MD)
  • Joe Monte, Retired (MD)
  • Michael Nixon, University of Maryland- College Park (MD)
  • Costas Solomou, George Washington University (DC)
  • Kevin Terry, Rock Ridge High School (VA)

  • Emily Thigpen, Sidwell Friends School (DC)

  • Dan Zawacki, The Catholic University of America (DC)













The
Government Relations Committee has a point of contact for each of our member states, as well:

 

The Government Relations Committee identifies areas of governmental policy that affect student and educational interests and formulate and recommend educational policy positions. Acting as a liaison with the NACAC Government Relations Committee, the members of the Committee coordinate efforts to keep PCACAC members informed of current issues in college admission counseling and educational policy at the state and national levels.  The Committee also serves as a resource for legislators on issues concerning the transition from high school to college, college access for students educational policies for college admission.

For access to several actions you can take to support our profession, your students, and their families, please see FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS below. Please be sure to make your voice heard on these issues. Contact Ginger Miller with questions at Ginger_Miller@Landon.net.

 


(Left to right - Jayne Fonash, Tara Nicola, Katie McEnroe, Ginger Miller, Christine Dougan; Robyn Lady, Anthony Ambrogi, Scott Anderson, Kevin Terry, and David Burge)

 

2017 College Access Agenda for States


Issues of particular importance included discussing the importance of lowering the counselor-to-student ratio because of the demands of the job. PCACAC supports the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) goal of adjusting the ratio for every counselor to 250 students. High school counselors have the responsibility and certification to address both mental health and school counseling (academic, career, personal) issues. Counselors are involved in helping students form realistic college lists. Counselors are involved in the complicated process of helping students apply to college as well as post-secondary planning for students who want career and technical education options. Additionally, access to continued professional development is critical for counselors. High school counselors also work in concert with college admissions counselors to help students find the best matches. We support the idea that college admissions officers should be free to decide in state/ out of state policies so that complex job of choosing students does not become even more complicated.

PCACAC GRC positions on specific House and Senate bills:

We are in support of:

  • House Bill 1857, sponsored by Delegate A. Lopez. This bill makes changes to in-state eligibility requirements, specifically stating that any student under DACA protection will maintain eligibility, even if the program ends.
  • House Bill 2344, sponsored by K. Kory. This bill is similar to HB 1857.

PCACAC opposes House Bills that appear to be anti-DACA/immigrant and seem to make colleges and universities de facto immigration enforcement officers. Specifically, House Bills 2001 and 2004, both sponsored by C. Poindexter, require that all higher education institutions strictly comply with immigration enforcement and that these higher education institutions report the number of full-time enrolled undergraduate students who are not American citizens, disclosing the amount of financial aid these students receive.

Students gave their personal information to colleges out of trust. We do not support using Homeland Security data for anything other than its original intended purpose. Even though many college presidents are trying to establish sanctuary campuses, they will not have laws for protection.

The PCACAC GRC strongly encourages members to become self-advocates by obtaining information about their rights and responsibilities and by contacting their legislators through letters, phone calls, and e-mails.

GRC in the Field 

The Government Relations Committee has been hard at work planning our advocacy events for the coming year. These advocacy events give us an opportunity to meet with legislators and share with them the projects PCACAC members are working on, the priorities of our industry, and other challenges that we face in our roles as counselors and higher education professionals. The following events are planned and have been finalized for 2018:

  • Richmond, VA: Monday, January 29, 2018
  • Annapolis, MD: Thursday, February 15, 2018
  • NACAC National Advocacy Day in Washington DC: Training on Sunday, February 25, 2018; Advocacy Day on Monday, February 26, 2018

Government Relations will continue to advocate for lower student-to-counselor ratios in public schools, strive for professional development opportunities for counselors, and advocate for equal access to post-secondary education and college counseling options. We support NACAC’s positions on areas including protecting DACA students and limiting student debt. If you would like to become more involved with the Government Relations Committee, please contact Ginger Miller or Nick Orban.

Help support the Dream Act...

PCACAC is proud to be supporting the 2017 Child and Youth Advocate Dream Act Letter to Congress, sent earlier this week. Thank you for supporting immigrant children and youth during this urgent time!

A message from CLASP:  "We're excited to share the final Dream Act letter from children and youth advocates, with more than 320 national, state, and local organizations from across the country! The letter was sent to Congress this morning, and we also issued a press release in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, First Focus Campaign for Children, The Children’s Partnership, and the Forum for Youth Investment. The press release is available here and below.

Thanks again to all of you for supporting immigrant children and youth during this urgent time. For those of you who represent state and local organizations, we invite you to issue your own press release. Attached is a release template you can modify for your own purpose, including state-specific information on the number of DACA recipients. We also ask that you help us share the letter over social media. You can retweet this: https://twitter.com/CLASP_DC/status/910528791734374400 and below are some sample tweets you can use as well. 

Finally, to learn more about how you can help support Dreamers and advocate for the Dream Act, please see CLASP's new fact sheet on the DACA rescission and visit our DACA resource page

SAMPLE TWEETS

We joined 300+ child & youth advocacy organizations in a letter to Congress supporting the bipartisan #DreamAct. http://bit.ly/2fkTeGN

We stand with 321 child & youth advocacy organizations and XXX #DACA youth in [state] in support of the #DreamAct. http://bit.ly/2wGtUhh

25% of #DACA recipients are parents to U.S. citizen children. We join 300+ advocacy orgs in support of the #DreamAct http://bit.ly/2wGtUhh

#DACA helped immigrant youth reach education & career goals. We join 300+ advocacy orgs in support of the #DreamAct http://bit.ly/2wGtUhh

#DreamAct is smart policy for #DACA youth, their families, & our nation. We joined 300+ orgs in a letter to Congress http://bit.ly/2wGtUhh"

Looking back...

GRC Richmond January 30 2017PCACAC-on-the-Hill – GRC Virginia Advocacy Day, Richmond


Throughout the morning on Monday, January 30, 2017, PCACAC's GRC comprised of high school counselors and college admission counselors held a series of thirty-minute meetings with several Virginia senators, delegates, and legislative aides in the offices of Senator Saslaw, Delegate Pogge, Senator Howell, Senator Newman, Delegate Greason, Delegate Lopez, and Senator Landes.

Our primary purpose was for PCACAC members to connect with members of the Virginia legislature to discuss issues concerning access, preparation, and funding for post-high school education. Acting as the voice for students who have none, we thank those who joined us to speak on behalf of students across the Commonwealth to ensure equal access to post-secondary options and success.

NACAC Advocacy Day

What an interesting day we educators had at the Advocacy training Sunday, March 4, 2017 and the NACAC Advocacy Day Monday, March 5 on the Hill in D.C. as we contemplated issues concerning access and equity in higher education. Since it appears that President Trump’s new budget will include significant cuts, we want to protect funds for education, and especially counseling, because research demonstrates that students who receive academic, career, and college counseling are more successful than those who do not. We support full funding for Title IV, Part A with the block grant for all areas of education. In addition, we hope to secure the Bridge Act for DACA students to ensure stability for them and their families. We also support HR-977 to put counselors where they are most needed and in areas where they do not exist. We support international students who increase our cultural awareness and broaden our global viewpoints while simultaneously contributing to our American economy. Thanks to all who attended and contributed to the success of this day.

PCACAC-on-the-Hill – GRC Virginia Advocacy Day, Richmond

On Monday, February 8, 2016, 

PCACAC's GRC hosted a breakfast meet-and-greet in the GAB (General Assembly Building) in Richmond.  Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) was acting in the role of legislative sponsor for this event. Our primary purpose was for PCACAC members to connect with members of the Virginia legislature to discuss issues concerning access, preparation and funding for post-high school education. Acting as the voice for students who have none, we thank those who joined us to speak on behalf of students across the Commonwealth to ensure equal access to post-secondary options and success.

PCACAC-on-the-Hill – GRC Delaware Advocacy Day, Dover

In partnership with the Delaware School Counselor Association, PCACAC-on-the-Hill Dover was held on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Acting as the voice for students who have none, PCACAC representatives spoke on behalf of students across Delaware to ensure equal access and success to post-secondary options. Members who attended had the opportunity to meet with Delaware lawmakers and their staffers to advocate for the rights of students in the college admission process. The meeting was set up in a delegation room in the Delaware Legislative Hall Building, where legislators and their staffers engaged with members of PCACAC to discuss strategies to best ensure that high schoolers have the resources they need to make informed decisions about their collegiate choice. Lunch was provided to legislators and their staffers and current high schoolers who are going through the admissions process or college students who had a positive college counseling experience were invited to attend.

PCACAC-on-the-Hill – GRC Maryland Advocacy Day, Annapolis

Acting as the voice for students who have none, on March 18, 2015 the GRC spoke on behalf of students across Maryland to ensure equal access and success to post-secondary options. Participants met directly with Maryland lawmakers and their staffers to advocate for the rights of students in the college admission process. The event was held in a delegation room and legislators and their staffers had the opportunity to engage with members of PCACAC to discuss strategies to best ensure that high schoolers have the resources they need to make informed decisions about their collegiate choice.  Lunch was provided, courtesy of PCACAC, to legislators and their staffers. Current high schoolers who are going through the admissions process or college students who had a positive college counseling experience were invited to attend.


2013 NACAC Government Relations Award

The Government Relations Award is presented to a NACAC member who has made outstanding efforts in support of policy initiatives that promote equal access to higher education, encourage student achievement, promote counselor excellence, and further the government relations priorities of NACAC members.

2013 recipient Jayne Fonash has been a dedicated member of the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling and NACAC’s Government Relations Committees. Following her PCACAC presidential cycle, Fonash assumed the chairpersonship of her affiliate’s Government Relations Committee and immediately increased its membership. She coordinated the committee members’ participation in Advocacy Day events in Maryland and Virginia during the 2013 legislative sessions and spearheaded PCACAC’s efforts to pass the Virginia Dream Act, even testifying before the House Education Subcommittee. On the national level, Fonash has played a key role in helping prepare members for the annual Day on the Hill, held each March.
Fonash also saw the need for a Town Hall style meeting to provide a forum for legislators and college admissions professionals to share information and strategies to support increased access to higher education for students. An Imagine Grant was awarded to fund this endeavor and plans are moving forward to hold the first PCACAC Town Hall meeting in early October 2013. Thanks to Fonash’s leadership, dedication, knowledge of public policy, and vision to coordinate new initiatives, PCACAC members are more involved with public policy and legislative initiatives than ever before.  


For Fast and Easy Access To Your Federal and State Legislative Contacts, Use the Links Below:

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NACAC Legislative Action Center

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Maryland Legislative Action Center

Virginia Legislative Action Center

West Virginia Legislative Action Center


 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • I want to get involved and support the efforts of the Government Relations Committee, but I don’t have time to attend meetings or travel for legislative visits. What can I do?
The easiest thing you can do is to use the links on this page! From here, you can search for current state and national legislation that will affect you and your students and make use of pre-written letters to sign and email to your current legislators.

 

  • How do I find information about issues in education and access?
NACAC’s Government Relations link will bring you to a list of the latest developments in legislation of interest to the National Membership. At the State Legislation Portals you can search more in-depth on issues in your state as well as topical issues. Also, NACAC’s Policy Recommendations page outlines many current policies and links to research and insights on current trends/issues.

 

  • Can I really make a difference?
Your voice needs to be heard by legislators at all levels of the government! You are on the front line in dealing with the policies and laws and the only way to change the ones that are not working and to develop better policies is to communicate your opinion. The links on this page will make it easy for you to do it. Bookmark the sites and make a habit of checking up on what is happening in your state and at the federal level.