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Carney signs SEED scholarship expansion bill

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Gov. John Carney holds up the signed bill. Behind him (L-R) are: DTCC President Mark T. Brainard, Rep. Ed Osienski, Senate Majority Policy Director Taylor Hawk, SEED recipient Jonathan Bernal, Rep. Larry Mitchell, former Sen. Harris B. McDowell, Sen. Nicole Poore, and Sen. David Sokola.

WILMINGTON — Gov. John C. Carney Jr. signed a bill Oct. 12 that expanded the state’s existing SEED (Student Excellence Equals Degree) scholarship program to give Delawareans of all ages access to a free college degree or workforce training certification.

Senate Bill 12, sponsored by State Sen. Nicole Poore, will help adult Delawareans seeking a career change, as well as students starting college immediately after high school.

“Working families throughout Delaware are still reeling from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they deserve our help to get back on their feet,” Poore said in a statement. “This legislation will give those workers the tools they need to achieve a better life than the one they left behind in March 2020, to embark on new careers, particularly in those fields where Delaware desperately needs a skilled workforce.”

Delaware led the nation in free college access when the SEED scholarship began in 2005, and since then, it has provided free college tuition to over 13,000 Delawareans. The First State now stands ready to become a national leader in retooling its workforce for the post-pandemic economy, enabling adults to develop new skills that can lead to higher-paying jobs. Delaware Technical Community College will play a critical role in this effort.

“Delaware is a national leader in free and affordable college access, and this expansion of the SEED program at Delaware Tech will build on that strength,” Carney said in a statement. “This legislation will help more Delaware students of all ages learn in-demand skills, stay in our state, and get a good job that can support a family. There’s never been a time in my public service career when that’s been more important. I want to thank Senator Poore for her leadership on this legislation, and President Brainard and everyone at Delaware Tech for their hard work every day.” 

Mark T. Brainard, president of Delaware Tech, said the scholarship expansion will build on the program’s previous success.

“Thanks to the foresight of Sen. Harris McDowell, who worked diligently on the original SEED legislation, and now Sen. Poore working to expand this program, thousands of Delawareans who never thought college was possible are now able to develop the skills and knowledge to change their lives,” he said. “We look forward to helping them get to work.”

In addition to the changes mentioned above, the new legislation will:

  • Expand eligibility to 10 semesters, so scholarship recipients will have additional time to complete an academic degree program (this is critical for those who are going to school while working full-time and supporting their families).
  • Include students who have a GED or “Delaware State Board of Education Endorsement Secondary Credentials.”
  • Be available to individuals with non-violent felonies (previously, individuals with felony convictions were not eligible for the scholarship).

For more information on the SEED scholarship, go to www.dtcc.edu/seed.

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