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Cleveland wants to spend COVID stimulus money to help adults complete college: Stimulus Watch

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The city of Cleveland wants to spend $300,000 in U.S. Rescue Plan Act dollars to help adults complete their college education.

The legislation, approved by the Workforce, Education, Training and Youth Development Committee on Tuesday, would spend the COVID-19 stimulus dollars on ads encouraging adults to complete their education and help former students access existing debt relief programs , according to the law.

The program is aimed at the 60,000 people across Cleveland who have some college experience, said Maggie McGrath, the executive director of the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland.

The ad campaign likely involves hiring a communications company, advertising on billboards and buses, buying social media ads and targeting ads to zip codes where many people don’t have college degrees, McGrath said.

CollegeNow Greater Cleveland, Inc. would administer the program, which does not spend extra money on canceling student loan debt, but helps residents take advantage of existing debt forgiveness programs.

“We’ve got millions of dollars on the table, but we’re not ready for people to take advantage of it,” said Councilor Rebecca Maurer of student debt forgiveness programs.

Maurer spoke out in favor of the legislation at the committee, saying one of the limits for people completing their college education is that they owe relatively small amounts to a school, preventing them from re-enrolling.

“People get caught in a trap where they can’t re-enroll,” Maurer said.

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