WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — New legislation was introduced to the U.S. Congress and Senate on Tuesday aiming to increase funding for higher education in rural communities.
The Success for Rural Students and Communities Act, H.R. 7497, was introduced to the House of Representatives with the goal of establishing a rural grant program for college and universities. Specifically if passed the bill would authorize $60 million in grants annually through fiscal year 2027.
As stated in Congress documents, the legislation would work to complete the following:
- Increase enrollment and graduation rates of secondary school graduates and nontraditional students
- Create additional employment opportunities in local rural communities
- Launch partnership grants for higher education, local educational agencies, and regional economic development entities
- Identify and document effective practices for the purpose of continuous quality improvement
The bill was introduced to the House by NY-21 Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and CA-10 Congressman Josh Harder, and in the Senate by Senator Susan Collins and Senator Maggie Hassan.
Congresswoman Stefanik discussed on how this would impact the North Country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need to close the degree attainment gap between students from rural communities and their peers,” stated Stefanik. “The Success for Rural Students and Communities Act will bring local school districts together with institutions of higher education and economic organizations to ensure our North Country students have greater opportunity to enroll in college, receive their degree, and then contribute to our local economies by thriving in high-demand jobs.”