Vermont to pay for all high school students to take college classes — except students at religious schools
The state's dual enrollment program allows high school juniors and seniors to take up to two college classes with the state and school district footing the bill.
Vermont’s House of Representatives has voted to pay for high school students to enroll in college courses — except for students who attend religious schools.
On Tuesday, the House voted 76-65 against an amendment that would have extended the state’s dual enrollment program to students at religious schools. The program allows high school juniors and seniors to take up to two college classes for free, with state and the school district sharing the cost.
Those who rejected the amendment did so out of concern that providing money to the students who attended religious schools could be considered unconstitutional government support of religion, according to the Associated Press.
In the dual enrollment program, however, none of the money would be going to the high schools — religious or not — but directly to the college itself.
“This is a matter of fairness,” Republican Rep. Robert Bouchard of Colchester said.
The representative argued that parents who send their child to a religious school pay twice for education; not only do they pay their child’s tuition, they also pay property taxes.
The bill was offered by Republican Rep. Carolyn Whitney Branagan of Georgia.
Neither Branagan nor Bouchard responded to requests for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter @kctimpf