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Our Opinion: Parson’s plan for adult tuition grants has merit

Our Opinion: Parson’s plan for adult tuition grants has merit

February 9th, 2019 in Opinion

When it comes to education funding in Missouri, there are a lot of outstretched hands.

Gov. Mike Parson wants to create one more slice of the pie, this one to go toward scholarships for adults studying in high-demand fields.

On Jan. 31, a story by the Associated Press said the governor’s plan, one of his priorities this session, has faced early pushback from Democrats and Republicans.

The plan would fund $22 million in “Fast-Track” workforce grants to cover tuition for adults older than 25 who have household adjusted gross incomes of less than $80,000. The grants could be used only for those pursuing degrees, certificates or credentials in careers in high need of trained workers, the AP reported.

The grants could serve 16,000 people a year.

One lawmaker asked why the state doesn’t simply put more funding into existing state scholarships. Another questioned which specific academic programs would be covered. Still another wondered why the state is subsidizing the training costs, rather than employers.

We believe the plan, as well as the scrutiny of the plan, has merit.

The plan itself appears that it would serve a good purpose, and is one that employers are less-likely to fill these days. Many are hesitant to spend much on training employees, because those workers jump from job to job more than previously.

But is this the best use of the money? If so, the details of the bill still need to be scrutinized. Should age 25 be the cutoff to receive grants? Should students have to maintain a 2.5 GPA? What are the “high-demand” fields that should be included?

We hope lawmakers in both chambers give the governor’s proposal a full debate.

Central Missouri Newspapers Inc.