Pashinski, HDPC discuss plan to increase community college affordability
NANTICOKE, Feb. 20 – State Rep. Eddie Pashinski, D-Luzerne, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing today on his Delayed Payment Plan legislation (H.B. 2287) at Luzerne County Community College.
Pashinski was joined by fellow state legislators to discuss the issues of community college affordability, student debt, and the current and projected future skills gap in Pennsylvania. Pashinski currently has legislation to create a Delayed Payment Program, which would provide a pathway for community college students at any of Pennsylvania’s 14 state community colleges to complete their degree or certificate program in a high-need employment area and land a steady job before having to repay their tuition interest-free for up to 10 years.
“Pennsylvania is facing a critical void in our workforce while the price of higher education is discouraging and preventing Pennsylvanians from pursuing a degree or certificate to fill that void,” Pashinski said. “My Delayed Payment Plan would help address the issues of student debt and the skills gap in the Pennsylvania workforce. It will allow young Pennsylvanians to improve their career prospects without being burdened by higher interest on their loans.”
The committee heard from a community college panel that included Endy Santos, a student from Luzerne County Community College; Thomas Leary, the president of LCCC; and Elizabeth Bolden, the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. The second panel focused on workforce needs and included Christine Jensen, administrator, PA CareerLink Luzerne County, and Trina Moss, director of Operations and Programs, Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board.
“I want to thank everyone who took time to share their expertise and experiences on the topic this morning. Bringing policymakers, educators and workforce development experts together on this issue will help create a burden-free pathway for our community college students – and a better future for Pennsylvania,” Pashinski said.
The hearing is part of a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, a policy agenda focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing healthcare access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com and from the HDPC at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.