As higher education leaders, we are writing in support of funding for national service.
National service programs help our institutions prepare students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good. These experiential learning opportunities, whether they happen before, during, or after college, result in a better prepared workforce by putting alumni on pathways to careers.
These programs help our institutions to embrace our responsibilities by contributing to the health and strength of local communities. National service volunteers do it all—from tutoring and mentoring children, to repairing homes for the elderly and restoring parks and playgrounds in run-down neighborhoods.
We are particularly concerned about funding for AmeriCorps, which not only supports national service opportunities, but also rewards those who complete their terms of service with money for college or to pay back student loans. Every federal dollar invested in AmeriCorps leverages another dollar in support of programs, and returns an investment to society of four to one.
We urge you to increase, not eliminate, funding for AmeriCorps and other national service programs.