Governor Wolf Highlights $200 Million Plan to Make College Affordable, Ensure Future Workforce Stability

April 07, 2022

Building on his strong record of prioritizing education for all Pennsylvanians, Governor Tom Wolf today joined the Millersville University community in highlighting his plan for a new scholarship program to make college education more attainable for thousands of students each year.

Through his $200 million Nellie Bly proposal, Gov. Wolf hopes to provide scholarships to students who attend either a community college or PA State System of Higher Education institution.

“When it comes to pursuing a higher education, skyrocketing costs over the last decade have put that dream out of reach for too many families. Pennsylvanians are being priced out of a brighter future,” Governor Wolf said. “When our brightest and best Pennsylvanians can’t pursue a higher education because it’s unaffordable, that means we’re doing something wrong.”

The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program – proposed to be funded by both the federal American Rescue Plan Act and the Race Horse Development Trust Fund – would support student tuition and relevant costs of attendance with a focus on those pursuing programs with high-workforce needs following the pandemic such as healthcare, education, and public service. Students who take advantage of the program must stay in Pennsylvania to live and work for the same amount of time that they received the scholarship benefit.

Gov. Wolf was joined by some of Pennsylvania’s leaders in higher education today, including Millersville University President Dr. Daniel A. Wubah.

“The past few years have financially challenged our students and their families, and we have responded by taking actions to control costs,” Dr. Wubah said. “At Millersville, we have decreased the total cost of attendance over the past three years, which is bucking the trend in higher education. The Nellie Bly proposal will help meet our commitment to providing students an exceptional and affordable education.”

On Wednesday, State Rep. Jordan Harris introduced legislation creating the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program.

“Far too many of our students are coming out of college saddled with a millstone around their neck in the form of crippling college debt,” Harris said. “When students leave college in a strong financial situation they can start a family, buy a home, and save for retirement. The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program will strengthen Pennsylvania’s students, our workforce, and our economy as a whole.”

“Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities provide life changing opportunities for middle- and low-income students with a quality education for in-depend jobs,” said PASSHE Chancellor Daniel Greenstein. “This proposal to provide direct aid to students – combined with PASSHE’s efforts to freeze tuition and transform the system – will help more students afford to pursue their dream of a higher education. That will further the State Systems commitment to providing a pipeline of graduates to close Pennsylvania’s talent gap, so employers have the well-educated people they need to succeed in the commonwealth.”

As Pennsylvania works to move forward following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nellie Bly proposal would remove barriers to an affordable education while simultaneously stabilizing Pennsylvania’s future workforce, as graduates would be required to maintain their Pennsylvania roots for work and life or repay the tuition through an interest-free loan.

This $200 million program builds on Gov. Wolf’s prioritization and legacy of funding education to ensure that students have every opportunity to be college, career, and community ready.

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