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Senator Hassan Joins Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Support Colleges in Pursuing Innovative Programs to Improve Student Success

Bipartisan Legislation Is Backed by Southern New Hampshire University

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and Finance Committee, joined her colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan Innovation Zone Act. This bipartisan legislation would strengthen an initiative under the Higher Education Act that colleges, including Southern New Hampshire University, have used to create pilot-programs that can improve student outcomes and prepare them for the workforce.


Currently, students are able to access financial aid for certain pilot programs at colleges, such as competency-based education and dual enrollment programs in which high school students take college courses. Senator Hassan’s bipartisan Innovation Zone Act will expand the ability of the Department of Education to support these programs and increase student success by increasing data collection and evaluation, requiring a review of existing “innovation zone” pilot programs, and expanding flexibility for colleges.


“Southern New Hampshire University and other colleges across the country have proven that competency-based education and other innovative programs can be a game changer for their students, particularly students who face barriers to completing their education,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan legislation would strengthen an existing initiative that encourages higher education institutions to pursue innovative solutions to help more students succeed academically and secure good-paying jobs after graduation. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to support students in New Hampshire and across the country, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move this bill forward.”


“The Innovation Zone Act will allow SNHU the flexibility to expand competency-based education, dual-enrollment programs, and other innovative pathways to help improve student outcomes and success,” said Paul LeBlanc, President of SNHU. “We are grateful for Senator Hassan’s leadership and commitment to supporting innovation in higher education, and students across New Hampshire.”


Senator Hassan is working to expand access to higher education opportunities to more students in New Hampshire and across the country. In January, Senator Hassan led in reintroducing the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act, which would support career pathways strategies that combine work, education, and support services to help individuals earn recognized postsecondary credentials. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan that was recently signed into law included a measure introduced by Senator Hassan and others to help end the for-profit college industry’s aggressive recruiting of veterans, service members, and their families. It also included dedicated funding for students who experience disabilities, which the Senator helped secure.