Time to Take the Nebraska Education & Welfare Model Nationwide

Education is one of the clearest pathways out of poverty. Nebraska Appleseed has been repeating this statement nearly since our inception, and our work has paid off:  Nebraska welfare recipients are able to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree full time, and recently, our state expanded the time frame that recipients can pursue an Associate’s Degree from 12 months to 36 months.  Not every state promotes education in this way – in fact, Nebraska is a model state for higher education access in welfare programs, in part because of Nebraska Appleseed’s long-time commitment to this issue.

A Timeline of Appleseed Efforts

A Timeline of Appleseed Efforts

Now, the attention of the U.S. Congress is turning to reauthorization of the federal legislation overseeing welfare programs (called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families on the federal level.)  And now, Nebraska can proudly point to the strong strategies that our state is using to help low-income families move into self-sufficiency through education as a model for the nation.  This week, we will submit comments to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee making two clear points:

  1. Education works for Nebraska families – let’s make it work for welfare recipients nationwide.
  2. There is more work to be done: It’s time to change the rules to give families more flexibility to pursue education, whether it’s a GED, English as a Second Language, or a Bachelor’s Degree.

Fundamentally, we believe that our nation’s welfare program should help families through difficult times, while also providing an opportunity for them to build their skills to become self-sufficient in the long term. And we know that education is the best way to do that:  In Nebraska, individuals who attain an Associate’s Degree earn an average of over $7,500 more than those without a high school diploma. Multiple studies show that those who attain higher levels of education are likely to end their dependency on welfare and other public benefits programs for good.

Join us to share Nebraska’s vision with the nation!

Read the letter and consider adding your organization’s name before April 21

See the Ways and Means Committee announcement about the upcoming welfare and education hearing

  One Reply to “Time to Take the Nebraska Education & Welfare Model Nationwide”

  1. Jim Millard
    04/20/2010 at 1:29 pm

    I’d love to sign the letter supporting TANF, but unless support for the people seeking a GED is linked to support for federal funding for the GED programs themselves, we will only be overloading the oxcart. Federal funding for adult education in Nebraska has been cut for at least two years and flat for more years before that. Demand, at least in Bellevue, has exploded. There will be more successful GED ompletions (150+ so far with two months left in the year) this year than ever before. Student hours in our program is also at an all time high. But without federal funding for our program we cannot hire additional teachers to teach the growing number of students who seek a GED credential. I fully support the position espoused in the letter on TANF, but we MUST get more federal funding for GED programs. Thanks

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