Investing in Education
Access to Early Childhood Education: Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the foundation for success upon which children can develop the skills to be life-long learners. During the first few years of life, a child’s brain is at its most flexible, making this a critical period for learning and growth. Waiting until kindergarten is too late—children who receive quality early education demonstrate greater cognitive and socio-emotional development than children who do not. Research has shown that children who participate in ECE programs have better short- and long- term economic outcomes, which means this investment pays for itself over time.
- That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Universal Childcare and Early Learning Act. This legislation creates federally supported Early Childhood Education facilities across the country. All families living below 200% of the federal poverty line ($51,000 for a family of four) would receive free access to these facilities, which will have to meet strict quality standards. All other families would have access on a sliding scale, and no family would pay more than 7% of their income for ECE. This legislation also increases pay for Early Childhood Educators so they receive the compensation they deserve.
- I introduced the Early STEAM Achievement Act, which would provide funding for ECE providers to partner with local institutions of higher education to equip educators with the skills they need to teach STEAM to young children and develop curriculum to use in the classroom.
Federal Support for K-12 Education: Every student in New Hampshire deserves access to a high-quality public education, regardless of where they live.
Federal government meeting its obligation to NH schools
- I’m cosponsoring the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act, which puts the federal government on a ten-year glide path to fully fund Title I and IDEA. This will improve education in low-income school districts and relieve the high cost of educating students with disabilities.
Expand mental health care in schools
- I’m a cosponsor of the Increasing Access to Mental Health in Schools Act. 1 in 5 students experience a mental health problem that interferes with learning, yet only 20% receive adequate support. This legislation establishes a grant program to increase the number of mental health professionals at low-income schools by connecting them with institutions of higher education and creating partnerships to have graduate mental health students work in schools.
Addressing the Cost of Higher Education: Higher education has provided Americans with a pathway to improve their economic well-being. Unfortunately, the high cost of college is keeping Americans from obtaining this important education.
- Fixing public service loan forgiveness
I’m proud to cosponsor the What You Can Do For Your Country Act. The Department of Education’s failure to properly administer the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program has resulted in a 5% approval rate for borrowers that wish to participate in this program. This bill makes numerous reforms to PSLF to ensure students engaged in public service have their loans forgiven after ten years, as Congress intended when it created the program.
- Stop government from making money off student loan interest rates
I’m a cosponsor of the Student Loan Refinancing Act, which allows students to refinance their student loans at the 10-year T note rate, plus 1% and caps all future loans at this rate (3%). Direct loans carried a 5% interest rate for the 2018-2019 school year and direct PLUS loans (given to parents) carried a 7% rate. This bill will make borrowing more affordable for students and their families
- Improve transparency about outcomes
I’m also a cosponsor of the College Transparency Act, which requires colleges and universities to release accurate and complete information on undergraduate outcomes, such as graduation rates and employment results across all majors.
The Department of Education will compile this information on an easy-to-use website so parents and students can browse results and help inform what course of study they choose to pursue in college.
- Make graduate education more affordable
I was proud to introduce the Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act. All students are entitled to 12 semesters of Pell Grants. If a student graduates on time (after eight semesters), they still have remaining Pell eligibility. This legislation allows students to put remaining Pell eligibility towards their first graduate degree. This will make graduate school more affordable for low-income students.
Expanding Career and Technical Education: Employers in New Hampshire and across the country need workers with technical abilities to help their companies succeed. I have supported many pieces of legislation to improve access to career and technical education (CTE). These programs give students the skills they need to earn a respectable wage and raise a family, while providing businesses with the workforce they need to succeed.
- Improving CTE Programs
I was proud to introduce the Workforce Development Investment Act, which provides tax credits for employers to partner with CTE programs to create curriculum that teaches students the skills they need to get jobs in their local community.
- Make CTE programs more accessible and affordable
I am a cosponsor of the Skills Investment Act, which would update Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to allow funds to be spent on skills-based learning, career training, and workforce development programs. Currently, accounts can be used towards basic school expenses, like supplies and uniforms. These accounts function like a Health Savings Account. Workers can make tax-free contributions and tax-free withdrawals towards eligible expenses. The legislation also allows employers to make contributions towards employees’ accounts.
More on Investing in Education
(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today announced with Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) that the Community College System of New Hampshire will receive $3.45 million through the U.S. Department of Labor to support high school apprenticeship programs.
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee which funds the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) that the NSF has awarded the University of New Hampshire $1,499,000 for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Concord, NH – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced legislation to provide $25,000 in either student loan debt relief or education benefits to essential workers and their family members.
Concord, NH - Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) held a conference call with the New Hampshire College and University Council regarding COVID-19 planning, preparation and the impact of the pandemic on New Hampshire’s students and institutions. Kuster discussed the federal funding included in recent legislation to support students, their families, and higher education. Participants included Debbie Scire, the President, and CEO of the NHCUC, as well as higher education leaders and presidents of many of NHCUC’s member institutions.
Concord, N.H. - Today, Rep. Annie Kuster joined a bipartisan group of 72 Members of Congress led by Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) calling on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to take steps to ensure that students are not presented with financial burden as a result of university closures and transition to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last week, I was proud to help pass bipartisan legislation in the House to stop Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from implementing a new policy – set to apply at the end of June – that would weaken protections for students targeted by predatory for-profit colleges.
Thanking Veterans for their Service
Thirty three years ago, the world watched in horror as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, taking the lives of its seven crew members.
In New Hampshire, our grief was felt deep in our hearts as we mourned the loss of a beloved teacher who had dedicated her life to inspiring her students and helping young people discover the wonders of the universe.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) issued the following statements after their bipartisan legislation, the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019, was signed into law today by President Trump. The legislation, which Kuster and Pappas introduced with Rep.
Congresswoman Kuster Speaking about the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act. Watch here.