Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
Earlier this month, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Thomas Kean, Jr., (NJ-07) introduced the PATH to College Act, bipartisan legislation to facilitate partnerships between public transit providers and accredited higher education institutions to enhance public transportation accessibility for college students.
“This bill is not just about ensuring students can reach their campuses – it’s about giving every student a fair shot at success,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This bill recognizes that, for many students, the journey to higher education is often hindered by obstacles like transportation. By addressing these challenges, we’re not only improving public transit, but also empowering students to focus more on their studies and less on their commute.”
“Lack of public transit often acts as a barrier to entry for students looking to enroll in higher education programs, particularly in rural and underserved areas,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “My bipartisan PATH to College Act will provide grants to encourage the expansion of public transit options near community college campuses, further expanding accessibility for students across the country. I am grateful to Representatives Kilmer, Kean, and Wilson for leading with me on this effort and look forward to advancing this bill through the House.”
“Providing accessible transit to all students is essential to ensuring education equity,” said Rep. Wilson. “For so many students, unreliable transportation is as a major roadblock to pursuing higher education. The PATH Act will help students get to school and expand access to colleges. As a champion for higher education, I know this legislation will be another critical step toward prioritizing access to education in our country.”
“Education should never be out of reach for any aspiring student. Today, I am proud to help introduce a bill that bridges the gap between ambition and opportunity,” said Rep. Kean, Jr. “By providing public transit grants, we empower students to pursue their dreams without the burden of transportation costs. This can help pave the path to higher education, opening doors wider and unlocking every student’s potential for a brighter future.”
The PATH to College Act would set up a novel pilot grant program. This program will facilitate partnerships between public transit providers and accredited higher education institutions to enhance public transportation accessibility for college students.
The PATH to College Act will allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to allocate competitive grant funding to higher education institutions and transit bodies. The primary goal is to ameliorate transit services for students enrolled in community colleges, Minority Serving Institutions, and institutions with a significant population of Pell-eligible students. A report by the Civic Mapping Initiative revealed that only 57 percent of community colleges are currently serviced by public transit.
The PATH to College Act is endorsed by the Association of Community College Trustees and Higher Learning Advocates.