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Sununu's scholarships: Democrats oppose college aid

April 12. 2018 10:41PM

A modest scholarship program aimed at helping New Hampshire students attend New Hampshire colleges is going forward despite opposition from Democrats.

Executive Councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas voted against Gov. Chris Sununu’s $4.1 million scholarship program because students would be able to use the $2,000 annual awards at any of 23 approved post-secondary schools in the state, including religious schools such as St. Anselm College, St. Joseph School of Nursing, Rivier University, and Northeast Catholic College.

This is the same tired argument that Democrats have used to oppose other school choice programs. They say state funding of religious institutions violates the separation of church and state.

But excluding religious institutions from participating in programs open to secular schools would violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Would Volinsky and Pappas block St. A’s students from using their state-subsidized UNIQUE scholarships, or deny federal financial aid for students attending Rivier?

Parents and students are choosing these schools, not state bureaucrats. Volinsky and Pappas refused to help make college a little more affordable. Fortunately, Republicans Joe Kenney, Russell Prescott, and David Wheeler supported a scholarship program that will help keep some of our brightest students in the state.

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