Minter: Tuition-free community and technical college for Vermonters

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter has announced her plan for “Vermont Promise,” which will provide two years tuition-free at Community College of Vermont (CCV) and Vermont Technical College (VTC). The plan is modeled on the widely hailed Tennessee Promise and will ensure Vermont students the education and training required to access livable wage jobs. Speaking at CCV Winooski last week, Minter was joined by former Chancellor of Vermont State Colleges Tim Donovan, former President of CCV and Johnson State College Barbara Murphy, Representative Clement Bissonnette, former Representative George Cross and former Representative Jason Lorber.Minter campaign photo.Vermont currently ranks in the top five states in the country for its high school graduation rates (almost 90 percent), yet near the bottom nationally for college continuance (about 60 percent).Vermont Promise will enable all eligible high school graduates in Vermont to obtain high quality, post-secondary credentials tuition-free. This will help break down barriers to ensure that our next generation is qualified for livable wage jobs. And, it will ensure that young Vermonters are not saddled with crushing student debt. For community college students who continue to four-year college, Vermont Promise will effectively cut the cost of a Bachelor’s Degree in half.“Education is the most powerful tool there is to change lives, grow a 21st century work force, and eradicate poverty,” Minter said at a news conference at the Community College of Vermont in Winooski. “Vermont Promise will enable young Vermonters to achieve their dreams.”“This is a win for everyone,” Minter said. “Vermont students will be trained for good paying jobs, families will have an affordable pathway to college and businesses will have access to the skilled workers they need to grow and thrive.””In the global economy, the equivalent of two years of college has the same importance as a high school diploma did 15 years ago,” said Tim Donovan, former Chancellor of Vermont State Colleges, who spoke at the press conference with Minter. “Sue Minter is making access to that level of education a centerpiece of the gubernatorial campaign. Without this, Vermont’s political leadership will be leaving Vermont’s young people and its economy ill-equipped for the future.”High school seniors applying for Vermont Promise will work with a volunteer mentor to navigate the college admissions process and complete a financial aid application, which they can submit to any college. Vermont Promise applicants must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, have graduated high school within the previous year, and must enroll full-time at CCV or VTC.“Two-thirds of jobs in Vermont will require some post-secondary training by 2020,” Minter said. “The lack of access to college and job training is a major driver of Vermont’s opportunity gap. Vermont Promise will help close that gap by enabling Vermonters to be qualified for today’s jobs.”Minter highlighted the proven benefits of a post-secondary education. Compared to high school graduates with no college:Holders of associate’s degrees earn 51% more ($12,000) per year.Holders of bachelor’s degrees earn 134% more ($32,000) per year.Lifetime earnings for BA holders are about $625,000 (114%) greater.The incidence of poverty is 3.5 times lower among holders of a BA.The probability of being employed is 24 percent higher.Vermont Promise would be a “last dollar” plan – the state would cover tuition costs at CCV or VTC that are not covered by other scholarships and grants.Vermont Promise will cost approximately $6 million in its first year, and $12 million by its second year of operation, when two years of students will be enrolled. It will be funded by a bank franchise fee on the largest banks and by expanding Vermont’s corporate income tax to the biggest banks doing business in Vermont. Banks operating in New Hampshire and New York currently pay corporate income tax, but banks in Vermont do not.Vermont Promise is a component of Minter’s plan to support working families. The plan includes access to quality affordable childcare at Vermont community colleges, paid family leave, and raising the minimum wage. This follows Minter’s plan to grow economic opportunity through InvestVT and InnovateVT(link is external).Source: Minter Campaign. 6.7.2016last_img

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