Affordable College Pathways Examined by Senate Education Committee

HARRISBURG – The serious need to provide more affordable pathways for students to pursue in-demand careers in Pennsylvania was spotlighted by a public hearing of the Senate Education Committee today, according to Sen. Dave Argall (R-29), who chairs the committee.

The hearing focused on the “Grow PA” legislation, a higher education plan introduced by Senate and House leaders to make Pennsylvania more competitive in attracting and retaining students to attend college and provide incentives for graduates to remain in the state after graduation.

The committee heard testimony from Catherine Repkoe, a high school senior who will soon be attending Millersville University to pursue a teaching degree. She referenced the financial assistance offered by “Grow PA”, noting that “I want to live, not just survive financially after I graduate… from what I’ve heard, the Grow PA proposals will help my friends and me get another step closer to starting the lives we have dreamed of.”

Also testifying were Aaron Riggleman, Manager of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry; Wayne Reich, Chief Executive Officer, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association; and Nathan Hench, Senior Vice President, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Riggleman and Reich both shared troubling employment statistics from many critical industries. Both noted that they supported the commitment of the committee to align the needs of employers with the training and education of students.

Hench shared his expertise with the committee on how to best execute the expansion of financial aid programs.

“Everyone is in agreement that Pennsylvania is grappling with severe workforce shortages,” Argall said. “By adopting ‘Grow PA,’ we’re putting higher education in Pennsylvania on a new path that places the focus where it should be: ensuring students in our technical and traditional colleges are prepared for productive, meaningful careers.”

CONTACT: Jim Brugger

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