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|State of Pennsylvania||May 18, 2010 Election|
HOPE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR PENNSYLVANIA
By Jack WagnerCandidate for Governor; State of Pennsylvania; Democratic Party
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Young people under 18 years old are 23 percent of our population, but they are 100 percent of our future. That's why I believe so strongly that we must give all of our young people an opportunity to achieve their dreams by helping them to pursue post-secondary education.As the father of two children, I share the concerns of many families who struggle with the burden of how to provide their children with the educational opportunities that are necessary for a brighter future. Making higher education more affordable and accessible for all Pennsylvanians is vital to the economic future of our Commonwealth. It is something that I have fought for throughout my career and it is one of my top priorities if I am fortunate to be elected Governor.
As Governor, I will create a HOPE Scholarship program for Pennsylvania students who attend Pennsylvania colleges and universities. HOPE is an acronym for Helping Our Pupils to Excel. Under my program, students who graduate from high school with at least a 3.0 grade point average would have their tuition paid for at a state-owned university. Students choosing to attend a state-related institution (Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln universities), a private institution, a community college, or a vocational-technical school would receive a scholarship valued at the average cost of a state-owned university. The program would be funded by excess profits from table games at Pennsylvania casinos.
The rising cost of higher education is not a new issue for me. I introduced legislation to create the HOPE Scholarship program four different times as a State Senator. As Auditor General, my first-ever special performance audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) highlighted wasteful spending in the state's top agency for providing financial assistance to needy Pennsylvania students, which resulted in much-needed reforms. I also called for a sweeping overhaul of the PHEAA board by replacing half of the legislators on the board with financial and academic experts and a full-time post-secondary student. Adding a full-time student on the board would provide board members with a real-life perspective on the challenges faced due to the increased cost of higher education.
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