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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 10, 2021 02:03 PM
From: Representative Napoleon J. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Pennsylvania's College Promise
Community colleges are a backbone of adult education, giving students flexibility to access higher education. These invaluable institutions offer many programs that allow students to work or parent while studying, to begin their studies towards a 4-year degree, get a degree or certificate, or to increase their knowledge in a field. Studies have found that a degree or certification awarded from a community college can lead to an average of $5,400 in increased yearly earnings for graduates.
Despite cheaper tuition rates than traditional 4-year colleges, tuition at community colleges have exploded by 46% over the last 20 years. Adding to that staggering figure, Pennsylvania has the 6th highest average community college cost in the country. This puts the benefits of community college further out of reach for many hardworking Pennsylvanians.
My legislation would allow Pennsylvania to join our federal partners in the America’s College Promise program. This program would provide a federal match of $3 for every state dollar invested in our community colleges, allowing students up to 6 semesters of tuition-free education in Pennsylvania’s public community colleges. This partnership legislation would tie-in with the ongoing negotiations at the federal level over the human infrastructure bill that include the America’s College Promise proposal.
The opportunity for tuition-free community college can remove the barriers that hold back too many of our students today. By becoming a partner in the America’s College Promise program and providing up to 6 semesters of tuition-free community college, we can ensure Pennsylvania’s students have access to quality higher education. This investment can unleash the potential of our students to benefit our state’s economy while providing a path forward to better paying jobs for all Pennsylvanians.
Please join me and our federal partners in supporting our students by co-sponsoring this important education initiative.