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Senate Hears Bill To Restore Higher Ed Funding

The Senate heard arguments Tuesday for a bill that would send more than $200 million to higher education.

The hearing featured testimony from plenty of educators including leaders of the Community College System, and the University System. But one speaker, though well-known at the State House, was a little unexpected: Former Homeland Security Chief Chris Pope.

“We must view higher education as not a ‘nice to have’ but as a ‘need to have’ and thus we must make our state colleges and universities accessible, affordable and competitive.”

Pope noted that he started his career in public safety after just one year of college. Then while serving in the Concord Fire Department, Pope returned to college and eventually earned his Masters.

As written, this bill would spend $200 million on the university system. Another $22 million would go to community colleges. The bill, which does not spell out how the funding would be raised, is sponsored by Senator Martha Fuller Clark, whose district includes Durham.