Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota


As the proud product of a North Dakota public school education, Senator Heitkamp knows what schools – and especially public schools -- mean to rural America. They’re the backbone of North Dakota’s communities, teaching our kids and giving them the skills they need to succeed. Senator Heitkamp wants to make sure every child has the opportunity to learn, grow, and get a good education starting at a young age. That means boosting early childhood education and investing in Head Start programs for families struggling to get by. It means helping students do their best in school all the way through high school and college. And it means enabling students to afford to go college and not get bogged down in loans they won’t ever be able to pay off.   

Investing in Early Childhood Education

Senator Heitkamp has fought for funding for early childhood education programs, so children can get the education they deserve starting at a young age. Senator Heitkamp has been a staunch supporter of Head Start programs that help children get a solid education at a young age, setting them on paths to success. During an address to the North Dakota Head Start Association Conference, Senator Heitkamp vouched for the effectiveness of Head Start and committed to pushing for more resources for early childhood education programs.

Advocating for North Dakota Students

Senator Heitkamp has been an outspoken critic of current U.S. Department of Education Betsy DeVos. Senator Heitkamp voted against confirmation of DeVos in 2017 and has been continued to advocate on behalf of public school students like herself, as well as for first-generation and Native American students.

Senator Heitkamp pressed DeVos about concerns over the agency’s announcement that it may renege on its commitments to provide student debt relief for servicemembers, teachers, social workers, and other public servants enrolled in the program. Rural communities in North Dakota continue to face severe shortages in public service professions like nursing, education, law enforcement, and agriculture.

Supporting an Affordable Education

Senator Heitkamp understands that the issue of mounting student loan debt not only affects students and graduates for decades, but it’s also a drain on the entire economy.

To help students afford a college education without loading them up with debt, Senator Heitkamp introduced a bill to eliminate federal student loan interest for North Dakotans entering public service careers. She also introduced a bill to help North Dakotans saddled with private student loan debt by allowing borrowers to refinance private education loan balances at reduced interest rates at no cost to taxpayers.

Supporting Technical Education

Senator Heitkamp has continued to push for more North Dakota students to have access to high-quality technical education, including in Indian Country. She has worked to increase funding for Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Institutions, such as United Tribes Technical College (UTTC). This funding builds on her efforts to protect the mission of UTTC, including successfully pushing for a waiver that prevented the college from losing its Pell Grant Eligibility.

Fighting for Veterans and Native American Students

All students deserve access to a high quality education no matter where they grow up. Senator Heitkamp has fought to make sure veterans receive the education benefits they have earned so once they leave military service they are able to transition into civilian life with a good-paying job.

Native American children face some of the steepest odds and enabling them to get solid education will help set them up for success. Senator Heitkamp has fought to make sure Tribal Colleges and Universities are recognized for their significant contributions to education and has pushed Secretary DeVos to make sure they continue to receive federal support.