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Senator Hassan Holds Virtual Roundtable to Discuss Challenges NH College Students Are Facing Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

NEW HAMPSHIRE – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan held a virtual roundtable discussion yesterday with New Hampshire college students who participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO program, which provides educational resources and support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Senator was joined by students and TRIO staff from the University of New Hampshire, Keene State College, and Plymouth State University.


Senator Hassan is working to support students and teachers during this public health emergency and joined in introducing legislation to provide $430 billion to support child care facilities, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions during the pandemic. Senator Hassan previously joined the rest of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation in announcing $82 million in March to support New Hampshire schools, colleges, and universities as part of the bipartisan CARES Act. The Senator also led a bipartisan group of her colleagues in pushing the Department of Education to make important changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and website to account for disruptions in a student’s financial situation, such as a lost job or income, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And in August, Senator Hassan held a virtual roundtable with higher education leaders across New Hampshire as college and universities began to welcome their students back to campus.


See below for coverage highlights:


Union Leader: Hassan hears from college students pushing through the pandemic to better themselves

By Kimberley Haas


For some college students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, returning to school this fall has been a blessing.


On Thursday morning, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., heard from three women enrolled in classes within the University System of New Hampshire.


The women are all supported by Federal TRIO Programs, which exist to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities as they progress through the academic pipeline.


[…] Hassan asked questions about topics such as food insecurity, which affected college students before COVID-19 and is expected to hit home for even more people this year.


A study by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab published in 2018 found that more than one in three college students at two- and four-year schools had difficulty getting adequate food within the previous 30 days.


“One of the things we have heard, even before the pandemic, was that on college campuses, food insecurity is a real issue,” Hassan said.


Jeanne Hearn, assistant director of Keene State’s Aspire Program, said they are one of the more than 650 campuses across the country that have food pantries.


“I’ll tell you, that is a busy place for people to come by and pick up food and we have students who come by all the time who say, ‘Wow, thank goodness this is here because I didn’t know what I was going to eat for the next couple of days,’” Hearn said.


Hassan said flexible workers and part-time workers have been affected by the pandemic, which is hitting college students who need to earn money to pay for school hard.


“That’s one of the reasons it is so important to get some more aid out to individuals as well as small businesses, and that is something we are going to continue to push to do,” Hassan said.


Seacoast Online: Sen. Hassan: Trump’s stance on virus relief bill hurts colleges

By Jeff McMenemy


U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan is “really concerned about the president’s decision” to end negotiations on a second COVID-19 relief package.


Hassan, D-NH, on Thursday called Trump’s decision “a really callous one” and stated she believes a new package should include much needed monies for higher education.


“The funding would be critical to helping universities,” Hassan said during a virtual roundtable discussion with New Hampshire college students and officials.


Trump announced earlier this week he was ending negotiations over a second COVID-19 relief bill and wouldn’t resume them until after Election Day.


[…] “I’m hoping the White House will back off of the president’s decision to cut things short and we will get to an aid package sooner rather than later,” Hassan said Thursday.


[…] Hassan credited the COVID-19 testing program that UNH implemented.


“It’s one of the reason I think UNH students are feeling like ... (they’re) in a pretty safe space because of the rigorous testing the university system has set up,” Hassan said.


[...] Jeanne Hearn, who works for TRIO at Keene State College, stated she has been “extraordinarily impressed ...with the resiliency of students,” as they’ve dealt with “just unheard of kinds of situations.”


She noted that students have had to deal with “technology related issues, like the tech divide.”


Hassan replied that “one of the reasons we want to get more aid to state and local governments and university systems” is to address technology shortfalls.


[…] Hassan stated the “technological and digital divide issues I’ve been hearing about even before the pandemic,” have just been “laid bare” after COVID-19 hit.