Sen. Tim Kaine pushes for increased access to postsecondary student loans

tim kaine-newU.S. Senator Tim Kaine, co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, joined U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to introduce the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Opportunity Act to expand eligibility for federal student loans to short-term CTE programs which do not meet the current program length requirements under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. This legislation will enable students and workers to participate in training programs that might have otherwise been cost prohibitive.

“Allowing students and workers to use federal loans for career and technical education and training programs would give more Americans seeking to earn a credential or update their skills an opportunity that may have otherwise been out of reach,” said Kaine. “When I visited the Valley Career and Technical Education Center in Fishersville last year, a common concern I heard was how the cost of coursework was prohibitive for many in the local community looking to advance their careers. Passing the Career and Technical Education Opportunity Act would give Virginians greater access to the skills training necessary to meet the demands of a 21st workforce and in turn, help stimulate regional economies all across the Commonwealth.”

“As a principal of a regional career and technical education center, I often take calls from potential clients wanting to register for certification classes that will lead them to acquiring job skills necessary for employment,” said Darla Miller, Principal of the Valley Career & Technical Center in Fishersville. “The majority of time the caller wants to know if we offer financial aid. I explain that we are unable to do so, because our programs do not meet the requirements for financial assistance.  This is disheartening, since the very person we are trying to provide training opportunities for isn’t able to financially help themselves, and our resources are limited.  Senator Kaine and Senator Baldwin’s bill is a much needed solution to that problem.  I see it allowing hard working people that may have limited finances, be able to enroll in training programs for in-demand jobs, be able to do so without worrying how they are going to pay for the training. It is a win-win for our community and our economy.”

The CTE Opportunity Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey. It is also endorsed by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc). Recently, Kaine introduced the JOBS Act in the Senate to expand the eligibility of federal Pell Grants to be used for short-term job training programs.


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