Looking to improve rural student postsecondary enrollment and completion rates, Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and Elise Stefanik (NY-21) sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging him to release $10 million in funds for the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grant Program as soon as possible. The grant program supports innovative approaches to improve rates of postsecondary enrollment and completion among rural students.
“Every kid, no matter where they’re from, deserves the same opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said Rep. Harder, who represents the Oakdale-Riverbank-Escalon area as part of the 10th Congressional District. “This funding will make sure we give rural students the tools they need to enroll in higher education, get a degree, and make those dreams into reality. It’s time students in our Valley had the same access to higher ed as those growing up in the Bay.”
Harder and Stefanik led the bipartisan Success for Rural Students in Communities Act, which would provide grants to rural communities across the country to spur innovation, improve access to higher education, and prepare rural students to receive the credentials necessary to step into high-demand jobs in their communities.
“Our rural students have faced unique challenges during the past year and a half, making it critical they receive the necessary support to keep them on track for success after graduation,” added Stefanik. “This funding will provide rural schools and communities the necessary resources to adopt innovative approaches that fully equip our students with the skills to succeed. I am proud to lead this important initiative, so our North Country students have greater opportunity to receive their degree, enroll in college, and engage in the workforce.”
Last December, Harder and Stefanik secured $10 million for this initiative in the Fiscal Year 2021 Labor, Health and Health Services, and Education appropriations bill. The Department of Education is directed to make awards under this program by Dec. 31, 2021.