Senators Also Call for More Funding to Help Rural Students Pursue Higher Education
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) led their colleagues in calling for continued federal resources to help students in rural communities. The Senators wrote to the leaders of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge their continued support for the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) and the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grant Program, which provide crucial targeted assistance to rural students in Maine, New Hampshire, and rural communities across the country. The letter was signed by eight Senators, including Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
“REAP is the only dedicated federal funding stream to help rural elementary and secondary schools overcome the increased expenses caused by geographic isolation… [R]ural schools across the nation have relied on these additional flexible funds to purchase supplies and make technology upgrades; expand curricular offerings, such as in reading, physical education, music, and art; provide distance learning opportunities; fund transportation; and support professional development activities,” the Senators wrote.
The Senators continued, “Additionally, we must work to ensure that students in rural areas who graduate from high school at rates that exceed the national average, but are less likely than their suburban and urban peers to pursue some form of higher learning, have the support that they need to connect to postsecondary education opportunities... In order to address these longstanding trends, we write to express our support for the inclusion of robust funding for the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grant Programs.”
The Senators also highlighted how the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grant Program would help promote partnerships between school districts, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and regional economic development or workforce development agencies to provide academic and career counseling and exposure to postsecondary education opportunities for students.
Click HERE to read Senators Collins and Hassan’s letter.
Senators Collins and Hassan previously worked together to halt a change to the methodology that determines which rural schools are eligible for funding through the Rural Low-Income Schools program. If the change had been implemented, it could have put the funding of 800 rural, low-income schools at risk, including in Maine and New Hampshire. The Senators also introduced The Success for Rural Students and Communities Act to assist rural students in reaching their higher education goals and connect them with employment opportunities in their hometowns.