WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) today announced the reintroduction of bipartisan legislation to expand post-graduation scholarships to help recent graduates pay down student loan debt and address skills shortages in local communities.

The Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act of 2021 would expand post-graduation scholarship grant programs by mandating that scholarship recipients are not required to pay income taxes on awarded funding, similar to traditional scholarships. This legislation would help spur long-term economic growth by alleviating the financial burden individuals face from student loan debt and incentivizing graduates to start their careers in areas experiencing shortages in working-aged college graduates.

“Incentivizing West Virginians to stay in West Virginia, and encouraging people outside our state to move here is critical to reversing the population loss we’ve seen in recent years,” Senator Capito said. “Our bipartisan legislation would address the pattern the 2020 Census revealed by investing in recent college graduates with the ultimate goal of bringing in more people to live, work, and raise a family in the Mountain State.”

“By expanding access to post-graduation scholarships, we can help ease the staggering financial burden many recent graduates in Michigan face while promoting robust economic development in the communities that need their talent most,” Senator Peters said. “I am pleased to reintroduce this legislation that will help Michigan communities bolster their economies and provide much-needed assistance to those seeking to join our workforce.”

“Philanthropy West Virginia and West Virginia’s innovative foundation network are pleased to work with U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito to build up a stronger economy and workforce,” Paul D. Daugherty, president & CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia, said. “As West Virginia recovers from the pandemic, now is a critical time for us to grow our state’s population and economy by attracting and retaining great young talent. The Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act, once passed and enacted, will be a triple win by providing new opportunities for philanthropy to partner in economic development, address our state’s population decline, and reduce the post-graduation burden on our younger workforce.”

Currently, unlike traditional scholarships, recipients of post-graduation scholarships are required to pay income tax on the grants they receive. The Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act would:

  • Exclude post-graduation scholarships from gross income: This bill would exclude post-graduation scholarships from gross income in the same manner as qualified scholarships. Currently, recipients of any post-graduation scholarship must pay income tax on these grants.

  • Ensure recipients are living and working in a community in need: This bill includes language that mandates that any grant distributed must be directly administered to someone living and working in a community that lacks working-age college graduates.

  • Provide guidelines for proper oversight: The bill would give the Department of Treasury rulemaking authority to create anti-fraud rules and reporting requirements to further ensure these post-graduation scholarships, as well as the recipient and the community foundation, are not subject to abuse. It would also direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the implementation of these grants that focuses on who is receiving them, how long they receive them for, and how much is paid out, among other areas so that the program may be improved to best meet the changing needs of communities.

The full text of the bill can be accessed here.

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