WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and today introduced legislation to help attract recent graduates to communities that have experienced population loss or have high poverty rates. The bipartisan bill will help expand post-graduation scholarships, which are grants awarded by community foundations to recent graduates to pay down their student debt if they live and work in regions with unmet need.
“As West Virginia continues to experience economic growth, it’s important younger workers are not constrained by the costs of higher education,” Senator Capito said. “That’s why I was glad to work together with Senator Peters to develop legislation that will help more people use their higher education to strengthen workforce development here at home and across the country.”
“Post-graduation scholarships help communities attract younger workers and reduces the financial burden on graduates looking to put their education to use in places where it’s needed most,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to join Senator Capito in introducing bipartisan legislation that would help expand post-graduation scholarships and spur economic growth in communities across Michigan.”
Unlike traditional scholarships, recipients of post-graduation scholarships are currently required to pay income tax on the grant. The Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act would:
- Exclude Post-Graduation Scholarships from Gross Income: This bill would exclude post-graduation scholarships from gross income in the same manner as traditional qualified scholarships.
- Target Benefits to Communities in Need: In order to direct these scholarships to communities with unmet work needs, this bill targets communities that have a below average number of recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree and have either experienced recent population loss or are low-income census tracts.
- Build upon Successful Existing Programs: Community foundations across the country, including in Michigan and West Virginia, have been using these programs to attract needed talent to their regions. Whether the ‘Come Home’ Fund run by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County in Michigan or Philanthropy West Virginia’s work on ‘Reverse Scholarships’ the Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act will allow more groups to effectively and efficiently use these innovative programs to attract young, educated, and motivated individuals to their communities.