Missouri House committee considers state work-study program

A Missouri House committee is considering a proposal to help alleviate the state’s massive student loan debt by establishing a statewide work-study program.

The idea of the program was first brought up during the last meeting in October by Erik Bergrud, associate vice president of external relations at Park University. The university’s program allows students to work for 20 hours a week on campus in exchange for free tuition, Bergrud said in his testimony last month.

The Subcommittee on Student Debt Relief had its fourth public meeting Monday morning to give a briefing on its plan toward the upcoming legislative session and takeaways from previous testimony. No university representatives attended to testify.

Committee Chairman Rep. Allen Andrews, R-Grant City, said a work-study program would not only be beneficial to students but also to employers who hire them through the program.

Although the detail of the plan is yet to be worked out, the committee hopes to incorporate the private sector into the program, which could differentiate the state’s work-study jobs from the federal ones. The Federal Work-Study requires that students must work in the public interest, such as at a private nonprofit or public agency.

The committee hopes to have more testimony from the state’s higher education sector in the next hearing scheduled for early December.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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