Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), introduced the Strengthening American Communities Act last week that would establish a National Public Service Education Grant program providing students with the majority of the cost of their degrees. Colleges will contribute a portion of the remaining costs for students, and the students, by accepting the grant, will commit themselves to at least three years of public service.
“No individual willing to serve their community in a public service career should be held back from their calling due to the high cost of obtaining a college education,” said Cardin. “This legislation is a first step toward enabling people to serve their communities without being hobbled by massive student loan debt, and by providing current public servants with the financial freedom to continue to heed their calling to service.”
Through a partnership between the federal government, states, and institutions of higher education the plan would provide the cost of attendance for students at both two-year and four-year institutions. As a ‘first dollar’ program, this support would not impact students’ eligibility for other forms of institutional, state and federal financial aid, according to Cardin.
More information about the proposed bill is here (1-page PDF).