ACPP news releases

'Community eligibility' could help Alabama schools fight child hunger

More than 900 schools across two-thirds of Alabama's school districts could use "community eligibility" to provide free school meals to all of their students starting this fall, the state Department of Education said May 1, 2014. Districts have until June 30, 2014, to decide if some or all of their schools will participate. Community eligibility helps ensure that low-income children, many of whom live in families struggling to put food on the table, have access to healthy meals at school.

"Schools in Alabama should seize this opportunity," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "Adopting community eligibility could make a real difference in the lives of thousands of children who otherwise might struggle to get enough food to eat each day."

Read ACPP's news release here.

Click here for a list of eligible schools and districts.

Alabama Marketplace numbers a big win for our state

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, May 1, 2014, on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ release of Alabama figures for the initial open enrollment period in the Health Insurance Marketplace:

“Alabamians are eager for the chance to access quality, affordable health coverage, and today’s enrollment report for the Health Insurance Marketplace proves it. Nearly 98,000 Alabamians signed up for Marketplace plans during the first open enrollment period. That number tops the federal sign-up goal for Alabama, and it means tens of thousands of hard-working Alabamians can rest easier every night knowing they have the protection of health insurance.

“Alabama’s strong performance shows the power of word of mouth and strategic partnerships. Interest grew throughout the open enrollment period as more people told their friends and families how easy it is to enroll and how good it feels to have coverage. As the technical challenges subsided, enrollment organizations across the state had more time to build partnerships, identify gaps and work together on outreach.

“One number we’re especially proud of in Alabama is the 31 percent of our enrollees who are in the 18 to 34 age group, the healthiest segment of the population. The Bama Covered initiative played a big role by encouraging young people to enroll themselves and also to spread the word in their communities. That youthful energy helped Alabama pass our sign-up goal, and it created momentum for continuing efforts to extend quality health coverage to even more Alabamians in the future.”

Alabama's higher education cuts are nation's fifth worst, report finds

Alabama has cut state funding for public colleges and universities more than all but four other states since the Great Recession, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C. As a result, soaring tuition costs have forced many young workers to start their careers with high debt loads and have made college increasingly unaffordable for many low- and middle-income Alabamians.

"Too many students are taking on oppressive levels of debt, and high tuition costs are scaring many would-be students away from college altogether," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "Alabama needs to invest in education and look for ways to make college more affordable."

Read ACPP's news release here.

Read the full CBPP report here.

Alabama House vote on payday loan bill a good first step

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, March 13, 2014, on the Alabama House’s 93-1 vote for HB 145, which would create a statewide common database of payday loans:

“The House voted today to help protect working Alabamians from falling into crippling debt. We’re pleased to see the House’s overwhelming support for a statewide common database for payday loans. This reform will make it possible to enforce current law and help keep borrowers from racking up thousands of dollars in high-interest debt.

“Alabama still needs to limit interest rates on payday loans to something far more reasonable than the current 456 percent APR. But today’s House vote is a good first step toward protecting borrowers and communities from the high costs of high-interest loans.”

Marketplace sign-up numbers good news for tens of thousands of Alabamians

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the latest Health Insurance Marketplace sign-up numbers released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

“Alabama stands out in today’s release of Marketplace sign-up numbers under the Affordable Care Act. More than 55,000 Alabamians have seen their lives change for the better by gaining the peace of mind that comes with access to affordable health care.

“Even more people stand to benefit in the final weeks of initial open enrollment. More than 134,000 Alabamians who have completed applications for Marketplace coverage have been found eligible to enroll in a plan, but most have not chosen a plan yet. The number of people who apply and sign up for plans will continue to grow in the weeks to come.

“Alabama is making a strong showing among the states despite considerable obstacles. That’s a testament to creative, energetic outreach work by Navigator groups and other enrollment assisters. It’s also a testament to the hard work of groups like Bama Covered, a student-driven enrollment initiative on college campuses across the state. These groups and many others are improving lives by connecting Alabamians with affordable health coverage.”