Bipartisan bill would help rural students with education, employment goals


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Maine Sen. Susan Collins and New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan introduced a bill that would help rural students reach their higher education goals and connect with employment in their hometowns.

“Our bipartisan bill encourages schools and employers to forge partnerships that will put students on pathways to the high-need jobs available where they live,” Collins, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday. “I encourage our colleagues to join us in supporting this legislation that will create additional jobs and economic opportunities in rural towns across the country.”

The bill is called The Success for Rural Students and Communities Act.

“Far too many young people in rural communities struggle to find higher educational opportunities that align with the needs of businesses in their local communities,” Hassan, a Democrat, said.

The bill would create a demonstration program to encourage rural community stakeholders to partner together to help their students matriculate, graduate, and enter the workforce. These partnerships would draw on the talents of school districts, institutions of higher education, regional economic development entities, and rural community-serving organizations.

It also would give partnerships the authority and resources to help rural students navigate some of the common challenges of higher education, such as financial aid.