Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Editorial: Education bill aims for brighter futures

by Editorial Board

When politicians talk about the amount of taxpayer money available to help with everything from education to infrastructure improvements, they get a little quieter when it’s time to look at how hard the federal government makes it to jump through the hoops to actually get that money.

It makes some sense, when dealing with state and municipal governments or large corporations. It makes much less sense to crow about how much money is available to help individuals for whom the red tape might be overwhelming.

Sen. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., has joined forces with Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., to introduce the Educational Opportunity and Success Act, which would reauthorize and strengthen programs meant to help students get access to college education support.

“I’m proud to reintroduce this bill. … Helping our young men and women receive a high-quality education and build a lifetime of success is vital to the future of our state, and TRIO programs are so helpful in that mission,” Capito said.

Among the bill’s aims are to establish reasonable guidelines for notice of pending grant competitions, remove administrative burdens, update the application process and update eligibility criteria.

“Recognizing that some students may not go on to higher education immediately after high school or earn a degree within 2 or 4 years, this bill would update criteria for several TRIO programs to provide greater flexibility to non-traditional students, including veterans,” Capito’s office said.

Some of the changes sought have been in place since 1980. If simplicity, accessibility and common sense can help more students receive an education that brightens their futures, lawmakers should not hesitate to make it happen.

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