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APLU Statement on President-Elect Biden & Vice President-Elect Harris

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and how public universities stand ready to work with them to address the many challenges and opportunities facing the nation.

“The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. We look forward to working with them to build a healthier, more prosperous, inclusive, and welcoming nation.

“As we now look ahead, we know the nation faces many challenges and opportunities. First and foremost, as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the nation and world, causing an unimaginable human and economic toll, public universities are looking to the incoming administration, to coordinate the national strategy. Public research universities have a unique role to play in the response and stand ready and eager to expand upon the ways in which they direct their human talent, scientific capacities, and medical facilities to serve the public.

“As public universities work to stanch the spread of the disease, they’re also grappling with its fallout. It is long past time for Congress to pass COVID-19 relief legislation with substantial support for higher education and research. This is an emergency situation for our nation’s colleges and universities, the students and communities they serve and the research they undertake.

“We greatly appreciate the pride President-elect Biden has in being a graduate of a state university – which he has not just voiced, but demonstrated in his commitment to expand access, affordability, and student success in public higher education. We also greatly respect Dr. Jill Biden’s distinguished career in public higher education as an educator at community colleges.

“APLU supports making public higher education as accessible and affordable as possible while enhancing the quality of education and boosting student success. APLU strongly supports doubling the maximum Pell Grant to $12,690, as the president-elect has proposed which would make college much more affordable for low-income students. The average cost of in-state tuition at a public four-year university is under $10,000, but Pell Grants also help students pay for non-tuition costs such as course materials and fees, housing, transportation, and food. We appreciate that the president-elect has also made affordability a priority by his support for a federal-state partnership that would provide students from households earning $125,000 or less with a tuition-free, public four-year education. Constructing such a program is complicated and we look forward to working with the president-elect’s team to maximize the effectiveness of such a policy and avoid some possible unintended pitfalls. We also deeply appreciate the president-elect’s commitment to additional support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions to help under-resourced institutions deliver on their critical mission of creating a more just and equitable society.

“President-elect Biden has long championed scientific research and our nation’s research universities as one of America’s greatest strengths to enhance our global competitiveness. Just as important, he recognizes the profound difference research makes in the health and livelihoods of our fellow citizens and global citizens. We know this isn’t just a policy issue to the president-elect; it’s personal, as it is for many individuals and families who look to science for cures to the suffering caused by diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Science holds the promise for medical breakthroughs as well as innovations in advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, clean energy, agriculture, quantum computing, and so many fields where both Republicans and Democrats want the United States to lead, innovate, and create jobs to fuel a flourishing economy. APLU greatly appreciates the president-elect’s commitment to boosting our nation’s commitment to scientific research across the board at all of our research agencies and enhancing the ability of our nation’s public universities to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

“We also know there are so many areas we can work together on immigration as we begin with the fundamental mutual recognition that we are a nation immensely strengthened by the contributions of immigrants. We know the president-elect strongly believes in supporting Dreamers. We ask that the Biden administration accept new applications for the DACA program while Republicans and Democrats in Congress work on providing a lasting, permanent solution for undocumented students, including work authorization and a path to citizenship. We also welcome the opportunity to work together on ways to enhance the United States as an attractive and welcoming destination for international students that would reverse recent policies that have been deeply troubling and a self-defeating loss for our nation’s competitiveness. We know the president-elect agrees that a core component of this strategy should be enhancing opportunities for international graduates of universities to receive a green card so they can stay in the U.S. and make their vital contributions here.

“There are many issues our nation’s public universities and the president-elect can work on together to advance the public good. We welcome this partnership as we have with all administrations.”

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