Pennsylvania Department of Education (DOE), highlights a new $200 million scholarship program for critical professions.
The Nellie Bly scholarship program makes college education more attainable and affordable for thousands of students, according to a DOE press release, building a network of critically needed professionals in the healthcare and education sectors. Through the $200 million Nellie Bly proposal, they will offer scholarships to students who attend community college or a PA State System of Higher Education institution. The program prioritizes students pursuing degrees who critically need employees such as teachers, mental health counselors, school nurses, and psychologists.
“Pennsylvania students are already forced to take on outrageous amounts of debt to get a college degree,” Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty said. “This scholarship program will help make college a little bit more affordable for Pennsylvanians. And it will help put our entire commonwealth on the path to a better future.”
According to the Pennsylvania DOE, the American Rescue Plan Act and Race Horse Development Trust fund proposed funding for the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program, which would fund student tuition and the associated relevant costs of attendance. Healthcare Education and public service are in the greatest need of workers. Health care is especially of interest since the COVID-19 pandemic, with acute care, long-term care, behavioral health, and home health care hoping to increase the workforce numbers. For workers to take advantage of the program, they must live and work in Pennsylvania and the same number of years they received the scholarship benefit. The RACC community and President Dr. Susan Looney joined Acting Department of Education Secretary Eric Hagarty and legislators for the announcement of this program.
“The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program is of special importance to those students in Berks County, as it will help build strong, successful lives in their communities, rather than leave them struggling to pay student loan bills, often working two to three jobs to make ends meet for themselves and their families,” Looney said.
“Many of our students struggle to meet the financial needs required to attend college. In turn, they pick up jobs, drop extracurriculars, or fall short of finishing their studies. Under no circumstance should one’s educational ambitions be deterred simply by the price of tuition,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank. “The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program would make a big investment in Pennsylvania’s students and demonstrate that we believe in our state system schools. It’s truly a worthwhile investment in the commonwealth’s future leaders.”
According to Pennsylvania DOE, The Nellie Bly proposal opens doors to the future of our most needed professions, making it more affordable but ensuring a stabilized workforce for the future of Pennsylvania. Due to the fact graduates have to maintain their residency and employment or else repay the tuition through a low-interest payment plan.
“For far too many Pennsylvania students, aspiring to attain a postsecondary education means being anchored down by a heap of student loan debt. The Nellie Bly proposal aims to alleviate this financial burden and encourage those to pursue their dream careers while simultaneously ensuring the vitality of Pennsylvania’s workforce,” said state Rep. Manuel Guzman. “This would be a win-win scenario for our students, workforce, and institutions of higher education.”
The $200 million Nellie Bly scholarship potentially ensures that students have an opportunity to have affordable tuition and a critically desired career path, preserving the future of Pennsylvania.
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