Conversations about education in the legislature are typically dominated by McCleary and public school funding. But right before the 2018 session began, Juliette Schindler Kelly, the Director of Government Relations and Advocacy at the College Success Foundation, joined us in this edition of “Wire Insider” to discuss the importance of paying attention to higher education as well.
“Education is really, for me, the paramount issue on my mind. This of course has been on many people’s minds with McCleary. Over the past five years plus we’ve been working on funding for our state and meeting the paramount duty of the state.
“But I want to make sure we’re also really paying attention to higher education. In this day and age, in this economy, especially in our state which has just been booming with this influx of new people and new jobs, it really is very important for our future that we pay attention to higher education which directly relates to the workforce. And to do so we need to make sure we’re not forgetting about low-income [individuals]. We have folks who have barriers to that access and therefore to their success in post-secondary completion. My non-profit, The College Success Foundation, and our great partners across the state are working hard to reduce those barriers. Whether it’s your immigration status, whether it’s just needing that financial support, or being shown the path of post-secondary success.”
Now, with the 2018 session at a close, it is clear that legislators agreed with Kelly’s assessment. Improving access to higher education scored several major wins this year.
At the beginning of February, Kelly testified in support of a bill to assist foster youth in pursuing college and apprenticeship opportunities. The bill ultimately passed and was signed into law at the end of March. Accessing higher education also became easier for an additional 4,825 students who will benefit from lawmaker’s pledge to fully fund the State Need Grant. The legislature also passed Rep. Drew Hansen’s bill to protect and expand financial aid opportunities for DACA students.