Posted: April 30, 2004
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Senator Mark Dayton has issued this news release, in which Chancellor James McCormick is quoted.
Bill provides help to students trying to balance work, school, and family responsibilities.
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mark Dayton today introduced the Nontraditional Student Success Act. The bill, cosponsored by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Bob Graham (D-FL), would provide comprehensive services to help nontraditional students complete their college degrees. Provisions include: increasing the maximum level of Pell Grants offered, expanding the tax credit for education expenses, and enhancing access to child care for working parents. In the 2002-2003 academic year, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities enrolled more than 80,000 undergraduates over the age of 25, typically considered nontraditional students.
"Public, two-year colleges are educating 21 million students at any given time - 44 percent of all American undergraduates," said Dayton. "Many of these students are not what were once considered traditional students. They are earning a college degree while trying to balance school, work, family responsibilities, and paying for their education.
"I am proud to join Senator Clinton and Senator Graham in leading the effort to assist Americans who want to improve their lives by earning a college degree."
Specifically, Dayton's bill would:
- Increase the maximum Pell Grant to $11,600 over the next five years, up from the current maximum of $4,050, and also allow students to receive Pell Grants year-round;
- Expand the percentage of education expenses that can be counted towards the Lifetime Learning tax credit and make it refundable;
- Broaden access to child care by providing grants for working parents with young children and increase funding for on-campus child care;
- Create a pilot program to provide more financial aid to less-than-half-time students;
- Implement incentives for schools to customize their courses to help students successfully complete remedial work and move on to academic programs;
- Provide funding for support service programs offering counseling, mentoring, tutoring, and other services to help nontraditional students succeed.
"Our nontraditional students in the 32 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities often are struggling to meet family and work responsibilities," said James H. McCormick, Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. "I have met many of these hardworking students, and I know how committed they are to completing their education and reaching their career goals."
Dayton has been a longtime advocate of access to educational opportunity for all citizens. Recently, he signed on to a letter of support for career and technical education funding, which promotes workforce training, innovation, and new program development at all public, two-year colleges in Minnesota.