News: Federal Policy & Advocacy

How and Why to Meet with Your Members of Congress in August

Friday, July 31, 2020  
Posted by: Raymond AlQaisi, Policy and Advocacy Manager
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Congress is still working through negotiations for the next COVID relief package. But next week, lawmakers are expected to break for several weeks and return to the areas they represent.

This in-district/state work period, commonly referred to as โ€œAugust recess,โ€ offers an excellent opportunity to interact with your elected officials. During a recess, members of Congress typically take meetings with their constituents to talk about concerns, so this is a great time to reach out for a conversation.

Your voice and advocacy around the issues your students face is central to Congress advancing solutions; for example, NCAN recommends Congress #FixFAFSA and #DoublePell.

To assist you in this effort, NCAN has updated our Recess Meeting Toolkit โ€“ a comprehensive guide to approaching meetings with your members of Congress during this time. This toolkit includes guidance on how to request (with sample text to use) as well as plan and prepare for meetings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings during the upcoming recess will likely be held virtually and through conference calls.

As constituents, you play a crucial role in educating lawmakers about the challenges your students face and how they can help. Take this time to build a strong relationship with your elected officials. This relationship ensures that when you have requests โ€“ either for policy action or for participation in your programming (e.g., speaking at a hosted event) โ€“ your message will be heard. Also, inform your members of Congress of all the great services your program and organization offer.

Given the compounding crises brought about by the pandemic, now is the time to advocate for your students who face considerable uncertainty about affording and attending college. Your coordination with NCAN, your state partners, and elected officials can be a catalyst for policy change.

Please visit NCAN's Advocacy Resources page for more guidance, and our Action Center for the contact information for your members of Congress. Also, please feel free to use NCANโ€™s research and state profiles on college affordability as advocacy material for your meetings.

If you have questions about arranging and preparing for August recess meetings, please contact Raymond AlQaisi at raymond@ncan.org.

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(Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels)