Governor Tom Wolf visited Pennsbury High School Wednesday to tout the Nellie Bly Scholarship. Wolf says the program would help to solve Pennsylvania’s student debt crisis.
The governor met with parents, students, local politicians, and school officials in a round table discussion.
Wolf’s plan is designed to keep Pennsylvania students working in the commonwealth. Students eligible for federal loans would be able to earn complete loan forgiveness if they complete the program.
However, it comes with conditions. First, they must be a Pennsylvania resident attending one of fourteen PASSHE schools in the state. Then they must live in the state the same number of years they receive the scholarship. If they leave, no deal.
Stacy Rogers, the mother of student Malik Thomas, had concerns. If her son wanted to experience out of state colleges, he would be out of luck.
Still, Rogers understood the value of the Nellie Bly Scholarship program.
“I’m just worried that he’s going to be in debt.”
Wolf’s proposal would transfer slightly more than $200 million from the Horse Racing Fund. It gets $250 million right now.
But the Horse Racing Commission passed a resolution opposing the proposal Tuesday. They say the proposal would gut the industry in Pennsylvania, which supports more than 20,000 jobs.
Wolf acknowledged the horse racing industry’s concerns. He said he thinks they understand his administration is “trying to do the right thing.”
Wolf also made it clear at Pennsbury his administration was working out the kinks based on feedback from schools. It is uncertain at this time whether the scholarship would cover things like room and board.