CICC Member Spotlight


New York by the Numbers


Joe Morelle (D-NY)


Joe Morelle has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since November 2018. In the 117th Congress, he serves on the  House Committee on Rules, Committee on Budget, Committee on Armed Services, and the House Committee on Education and Labor. A lifelong resident of Upstate New York, Rep. Morelle is a former small business owner and was previously elected to the Monroe County Legislature and the New York State Assembly.


Q: Why did you decide to join the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus?
A: I have had the privilege of working closely with New York’s independent colleges for more than three decades, most directly while serving in the New York State Assembly.  I have seen firsthand the high-quality education our state’s independent colleges and universities provide and the impact these schools have on our entire community. When I arrived in Washington, D.C, to take up my new responsibilities as Congressman, it was important to me to continue advocating on behalf of my district’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities by joining the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus.​



"Congressman Joe Morelle has been a longtime champion of RIT
and the Greater Rochester community, having previously served
with distinction as Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly
before his election to the U. S. House of Representatives. There is
no one who better understands and appreciates the critical role
of higher education as an economic driver and foundation of
progress​.  We are enormously proud of and thankful to
Congressman Morelle for his leadership and support."

David C. Munson, Ph.D.   
President, Rochester Institute of Technology   

Q: What contributions are independent colleges making in your district?
A: I am immensely proud of the independent colleges and universities in my district that are serving their students and our community day in and day out. Not only do these institutions commit to providing all students – regardless of where they come from – the opportunity to have a high-quality education, but they dedicate time and resources to ensuring students have access to the financial support they need to complete their degree. In addition to these schools’ noteworthy commitment to their students, they provide a great benefit to their surrounding communities. In fact, New York’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities generate $88.8 billion in economic impact annually and support 415,600 jobs in the state.​


“Congressman Morelle has been a strong advocate for
higher education institutions in our region, lending his full
support to protect student financial aid programs that ensure
access to quality education for underrepresented, low-income,
and first generation college students. On campus, he has also
been generous with his time sharing with students the story of his transition from his first year on the Hill to his time in state politics."

- Gerard J. Rooney, Ph.D.   
President, St. John Fisher College   


Q: How do you see these schools innovating?
A: Independent colleges in my district are continuously assessing the needs of their students to ensure they have access to high quality and meaningful degrees, as well as evaluating and advancing how the work of their faculty, students, and graduates can have the greatest impact on their community and the nation.  I continue to see a commitment from these schools to hone, reshape, and launch new educational programs that help prepare the next generation of skilled, innovative, and successful workers in a myriad of fields.  As a result, many of these institutions are leading the world in groundbreaking research and their work has received international attention. In fact, numerous recent Nobel Prize recipients have had an affiliation with one of New York State’s private, not-for-profit colleges or universities at some point in their career. In my own district, a graduate of the University of Rochester, Donna Strickland, and a former engineering professor and scientist at the University’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), Gérard Mourou, earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 for work they did while at the LLE.



"Congressman Joe Morelle has advocated for Nazareth College
students for decades through his offices at both the state and
federal levels. He has co-sponsored legislation to address issues of
college accessibility and affordability, provided assistance in
applying for pandemic relief, and visited campus in support of
our students selected to participate in the Clinton Global
Initiative University. His support for Nazareth’s initiatives and
growth have benefitted not only our students but the greater
community by increasing access to arts and culture, health
services, and wellness programs."

- Elizabeth L. Paul, Ph.D.  
President, Nazareth College  


Q: As a Member of Congress, how do you support the opportunity for education?
A:  Over the past year, I have proudly served on the House Committee on Education and Labor providing a strong voice for the higher education institutions throughout my district and across all of New York State. I am incredibly proud of the work our committee has done to reauthorize the Higher Education Act via the College Affordability Act. I recognized early on the significance of this landmark legislation for my district and dedicated time and resources towards local and state-wide roundtables, meetings with numerous local leaders and stakeholders, and advocated our priorities directly to committee staff. I am proud that the final text of the College Affordability Act includes legislative text from my bill, the CAMPUS Act, which works to ensure unexpected financial burdens like sudden illness, loss of employment, or transportation emergencies do not hold students back from completing their degrees. We have secured numerous wins for the higher education institutions in my district, and I remain committed to advocating on their behalf as the College Affordability Act moves across the finish line.


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