UOG, GCC welcome use of EITC for student financial assistance programs

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The heads of the University of Guam and the Guam Community College have welcomed legislation that directs reimbursements from the EITC to student financial assistance programs.

Senators Telo Taitague, Sabina Perez, Frank Blas, Jr., Tony Ada, and Joanne Brown introduced Bill 148, also known as the Earned Income Tax Credit Federal Reimbursement Fund.

The bill aims to help support student financial assistance programs administered by the University of Guam and Guam Community College.

GovGuam expects to receive about $60 million in EITC reimbursements annually from the federal government.

Both UOG president Dr. Thomas Krise and GCC president Dr. Mary Okada support the bill.

Bill 148 would appropriate more than $14.9 million annually. That money would go to support new and established student financial assistance programs.

Both Krise and Okada say that they want students to aspire to higher education. They say it’s not just beneficial for them individually but for the island overall.

“The EITC allows for additional revenue and the idea of earmarking the revenue for workforce development which is a really smart idea. We have suffered this, we’re still suffering from this pandemic recession and so to crawl out of that, the best way is to invest in people and their capacity. So I think it’s a really smart way to make an investment. Sometimes we think of financial aid, scholarships, and so on as benefiting the individuals that are getting the education, but it’s good for all of us,” Krise said.

Dr. Mary Okada, GCC President, added: “With the cost of higher education these days and just, you know, you’re going to need more than just a high school diploma, regardless in what area you’re going to work in, … so again, it’s giving opportunities to individuals who probably wouldn’t have considered higher education if they had to pay for it.”

“You really want to have individuals train for professions that they could actually use to sustain their families,” Okada said.

Based on U.S. public law, the federal government is required to reimburse GovGuam for the cost of the EITC beginning this year.

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