Martin Introduces Bills to Improve Educational Access for Students

HARRISBURG – To protect and improve educational access for lower income students, Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) introduced two pieces of legislation that would make changes to the Commonwealth’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some families who received federal relief dollars could be pushed over the household income limit, making them ineligible for EITC or OSTC programs.

To address this unintended consequence, Sen. Martin’s bill would revise the current definition of household income to explicitly state that payments received from any governmental agency as a result of the pandemic cannot be included in calculating household income when determining eligibility.

“Until my bill is signed into law, students are being inadvertently blocked from the educational resources that enable them to achieve their highest level of success. That’s obviously not what we want, so I am hopeful that my legislation will move quickly through the legislative process,” Sen. Martin said.

Sen. Martin’s other bill would also revise the current definition of “school-related fees” within the context of the EITC and OSTC programs to allow for the use of program dollars for dual enrollment.

Dual enrollment courses offered to secondary education students are known to be more affordable and can put students on a path to potentially graduate early from their post-secondary training, which has the potential to save them thousands of dollars in tuition and interest from student loan debt.

“Because costs for so many basic items – like food and gas – continue to rise, it is more critical than ever to provide people who wish to pursue additional education to increase their earning power with the opportunity to do so. My bill would help to minimize educational costs so more people could attain family-sustaining jobs,” said Sen. Martin.

CONTACT:  Terry Trego, 717-787-6535

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