Congressman Connolly knows that the success of Northern Virginia's economy is directly tied to the achievement of students in our local classrooms and college campuses. As a parent, he believes that investing in quality early childhood education, public education, and college access programs will spur innovation and set our young people on a path to lifelong success.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, he helped increase funding for local schools by more than 30%. In Congress, during the Great Recession, he helped secure more than $170 million for schools in Fairfax and Prince William Counties, saving more than 825 teaching positions. He is a leading advocate for public-private partnerships to advance education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and helped pass the America Competes Reauthorization Act, which authorizes $5.5 billion over five years for National Science Foundation education programs.
Congressman Connolly understands that for Northern Virginia families looking toward a college education for their kids, tuition costs can be daunting. He knows that improving college affordability and reducing the burden of student loan debt are essential components to strengthening our higher education system. Nearly two-thirds of jobs in the United States require post-high school education or training, and we must eliminate insurmountable cost barriers to higher education for middle-class families if we want the U.S. to maintain its competitive edge.
Congressman Connolly has helped expand Pell Grant eligibility by 40% since 2009, making college more affordable for middle-class families. He worked with a bipartisan coalition to pass the Student Loan Certainty Act, letting students lock in lower interest rates, and he supports legislation to all refinancing of existing loans. He helped make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent, which has made college attainable for 11.5 million families.