WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House passed the conference report on the College Cost Reduction Act by a vote of 292 to 97:
“This is an historic day for millions of hard-working Americans who want to send their sons and daughters to college – and it is an important day for our nation and this Congress.
“I thank Chairmen Miller and Kennedy for their tremendous leadership and hard work on this landmark conference report on the College Cost Reduction Act – as well as their leadership on education over many, many years.
“This bipartisan conference report – which passed the Senate by a vote of 79 to 12, and passed the House with strong bipartisan support – provides the largest investment in higher education since the GI bill – at no new cost to taxpayers.
“Among other things, the conference report increases the maximum Pell grant by $490 next year and at least $1,090 over the next five years.
“It cuts interest rates in half on subsidized student loans over the next five years.
“It provides tuition assistance to qualified undergraduate students who commit to teaching in public schools in high-poverty communities or high-need subject areas.
“And, it provides loan forgiveness for public service workers after ten years of loan payments.
“These measures and others are all designed to do one thing: to make a college education more affordable for millions of students in lower and middle-income families.
“Acquiring a first-rate education is a wonderful personal accomplishment. But ensuring that we have an educated workforce also is a national imperative that will strengthen our competitiveness and ability to succeed.
“The passage of this conference report is yet another example of how this Congress is getting concrete accomplishments for the American people and working in a bipartisan manner.
“Already this year, we have enacted a minimum wage increase, the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, sweeping lobbying and ethics reform, and legislation enhancing our competitiveness.
“And now, we have passed this important conference report, which received strong bipartisan support and which the president has said he will sign.
“We are moving this nation in new direction and addressing the priorities of the American people. And this conference report is a clear demonstration of our positive, pro-active agenda.”