pa senate committee lifeline scholarships

Pa. Senate Committee Passes Lifeline Scholarships

June 21, 2022, Harrisburg, Pa. —Today, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee approved a bill to extend Lifeline Scholarships to students in underperforming school districts. House Bill 2169, sponsored by Reps. Clint Owlett and Martina White, would offer scholarships to public school students in the bottom 15 percent of lowest-performing schools.  

On April 27, 2022, the Pennsylvania House passed the Lifeline Scholarship bill 104-98.

“For the first time in history, the Pennsylvania House approved legislation that would empower parents with education funding that follows students to the schools of their choice,” Senior Vice President of the Commonwealth Foundation Nathan Benefield said. “The Pennsylvania Senate now has the opportunity to take the next step and ensure every child has access to an excellent education.”

Lifeline Scholarships would give students in the lowest-performing public schools a modest portion of the per-pupil education funding to use on educational expenses, such as tuition, curriculum, and tutoring. Eighty percent of students in the bottom 15 percent of schools are non-white and economically disadvantaged.

“An excellent education is the pathway to success later in life, giving students the opportunity for greater independence,” Benefield said. “No student should be trapped in a failing school just because of their zip code. Lifeline Scholarships provide education opportunities to the families that need it most.”

While Lifeline Scholarships will provide students with around $6,800 of flexible education spending, close to two-thirds of the $19,900 per student spent on public schools will remain with the school district. A May 2022 poll found that 84 percent of Pennsylvania voters support giving parents government-funded accounts to use for educational expenses. 

The committee voted 7-4 to advance the Lifeline Scholarship Program to the Senate floor.

Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Stefanie Mason at [email protected] or 414-418-5132 to schedule an interview.


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