We have made significant strides in supporting higher education and ensuring a brighter future with opportunities, support, and financial relief for our students.
During the 2023 legislative session, we allocated over $135 million more for higher education in our biennial state budget than initially proposed. We did this in order to support initiatives that reflect our commitment to addressing the challenges faced by students and graduates.
Some of this year's priorities include PA 23-204, which expanded our debt-free community college program to incorporate subsidies for returning students and established a student loan forgiveness program that offers up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness for individuals who meet certain criteria and volunteer at a local nonprofit.
We also streamlined the eligibility requirements for the Roberta Willis Scholarship and enabled the program to notify students of their scholarship awards earlier in the year, so they’ll have full knowledge of their financial aid before choosing which school to attend in the fall.
Additionally, we passed several other measures to support higher education, such as:
Lower state-backed loan refinancing rates for nurses (PA 23-60)
Prohibiting colleges and universities from withholding transcripts due to outstanding debt (PA 23-14)
Providing student loan subsidies for paraeducators, school counselors, police officers, and EMS personnel (PA 23-70)
I will continue working with my colleagues to find opportunities that will provide those interested in obtaining a college degree with the necessary tools to help them achieve their goals.