Capito and Peters reintroduce bipartisan bill to ease student loan debt and help communities fill worker shortages

WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Today announced the reintroduction of bipartisan legislation to expand graduate scholarships to help recent graduates repay student loan debt and address skills shortages in local communities.

the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act, 2021 expand post-graduation scholarship programs by requiring scholarship recipients not to pay income taxes on the funding provided, like traditional scholarships. This legislation would help stimulate long-term economic growth by easing the financial burden individuals face as a result of student loan debt and by encouraging graduates to start their careers in fields with a shortage of college graduates of age. to work.

“Getting West Virginia to stay in West Virginia and encouraging people outside of our state to relocate here is key to reversing the population loss we have seen in recent years,” said Senator Capito. “Our bipartisan legislation would respond to the pattern revealed by the 2020 census by investing in recent college graduates with the ultimate goal of getting more people to live, work and raise families in Mountain State.”

“By expanding access to graduate scholarships, we can help ease the enormous financial burden many recent Michigan graduates face while fostering strong economic development in communities that need their talents the most.” ” Senator Peters said. “I am pleased to once again present this legislation which will help Michigan communities strengthen their economies and provide much needed assistance to those who wish to join our workforce.”

“Philanthropy West Virginia and West Virginia’s network of innovative foundations is pleased to work with US Senator Shelley Moore Capito to strengthen the economy and the workforce. ” Paul D. Daugherty, President and CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia, said. “As West Virginia recovers from the pandemic, now is the time for us to grow our state’s people and economy by attracting and retaining great young talent. the Workforce Development Act through Post-Graduation Scholarships, once adopted and enacted, will be a triple victory in providing new opportunities for philanthropy to partner with economic development, combat our state’s population decline, and reduce the post-graduation burden on our young hand -work.

Currently, unlike traditional scholarships, graduate scholarship recipients are required to pay income tax on the grants they receive. the Workforce Development Act through Post-Graduation Scholarships would like:

  • Exclude graduate scholarships from gross income: This bill would exclude graduate scholarships from gross income in the same way as eligible scholarships. Currently, recipients of any graduate scholarship are required to pay income tax on these grants.
  • Make sure beneficiaries live and work in a community in need: This bill includes language that requires that any distributed grant be administered directly to someone living and working in a community that lacks working-age college graduates.
  • Provide guidelines for appropriate monitoring: The bill would give the Treasury Department the power to create anti-fraud rules and reporting requirements to further ensure that these graduate scholarships, as well as the grantee and community foundation, are not abused. . It would also ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the implementation of these grants that focuses on who receives them, how long they receive them, and how much is paid, among other areas, so that the program can be improved to better meet the changing needs of communities.

The full text of the bill is available here.

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