Wolf administration highlights $200 million Nellie Bly scholarship plan to make college affordable and build workforce in needed fields

The Wolf administration joined educators and students at Reading Area Community College (RACC) in highlighting Governor Tom Wolf’s plan for a new scholarship program to make college education more accessible to thousands of students. and to build a pool of essential professionals in the fields of health. and education.

Through his $200 million Nellie Bly proposal, Governor Wolf hopes to provide scholarships to students attending a community college or higher education institution in the PA state system. The program would prioritize students pursuing degrees with high labor needs, such as teachers, mental health counselors, school nurses, and psychologists.

“Students in Pennsylvania are already forced into debt to get a college degree,” said Acting Education Secretary Eric Hagarty. “This scholarship program will help make college a little more affordable for Pennsylvanians. And it will help set our entire community on the path to a better future.

The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program – proposed to be funded by both the US Federal Bailout Act and the Race Horse Development Trust Fund – would cover student tuition and participation costs relevant, with a focus on students pursuing programs where the Commonwealth’s workforce needs are greatest – health, education and the civil service. The focus on health care would increase the number of future workers in fields particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as acute care, long-term care, behavioral health and home care.

Students taking advantage of the program must remain in Pennsylvania to live and work for the same number of years that they received the scholarship.

Hagarty was joined by lawmakers and members of the RACC community, including RACC President Dr. Susan Looney.

“The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program is of particular importance to Berks County students because it will help them build strong, successful lives in their communities, rather than leaving 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 to attend college. In turn, they land a job, drop out of extracurricular activities, or fail to complete their education. Under no circumstances should a person’s educational ambitions be discouraged simply by the price of tuition,” said State Senator Judy Schwank. “The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program would make a big investment in Pennsylvania students and demonstrate that we believe in our public system schools. It really is a worthwhile investment in the future leaders of the Commonwealth.

As Pennsylvania continues to move forward after the COVID-19 pandemic, Nellie Bly’s proposal would remove barriers to affordable education while stabilizing Pennsylvania’s future workforce, as graduates would be required to maintain their roots in Pennsylvania for work and life or pay off college tuition with a low-interest loan.

“For far too many Pennsylvania students, aspiring to pursue a post-secondary education means being anchored by a pile of student debt. Nellie Bly’s proposal is intended to ease that financial burden and encourage people to pursue their dream careers, while simultaneously ensuring the vitality of Pennsylvania’s workforce,” said the state representative, Manuel Guzman. “It would be a win-win scenario for our students, our workforce and our higher education institutions.”

This $200 million program builds on Governor Wolf’s prioritization and education funding legacy to ensure students have every opportunity to be ready for college, career and community.

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