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WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Rep. Tim Bishop (NY-01), Rep. Jason Altmire (PA-04), Rep. Chris Murphy (CT-05), and Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-03) discussed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act on a conference call with reporters from college newspapers this afternoon. Congress sent this legislation to President Bush on Tuesday, September 18th, to be signed into law.
“As college costs continue to rise, many would-be students are holding off on going to college,” said Majority Leader Hoyer. “This is not a good situation for our young people, or for our nation and economy. We need an educated workforce in order to compete in the 21st century global marketplace, and the College Cost Reduction Act will help ensure that all students are able to afford a college education.”
“I have worked with countless students struggling to afford their college education,” said Congressman Bishop, a former college administrator. “My desire to help them and their families was one of the main reasons I entered public service. This bill places the needs of students and their parents ahead of the profits of lenders and in so doing increases access and affordability for the millions of Americans who seek a college education.”
“We should not underestimate the impact that the College Cost Reduction and Access Act will have on people’s lives, both the students who are taking on this additional debt now and their families who are helping their children pay for college,” said Congressman Altmire. “Congress is making a substantial investment in education in this country by providing students with more dollars to pay for their tuition in the form of loans and grants and by ensuring that the burden of debt doesn’t become overwhelming after they graduate.”
“A college education is more than just a diploma – it represents the pathway to a better life and an important part of the American dream,” Congressman Murphy said. “This bill opens doors to educational opportunities that currently cost too much for too many students and families. But this legislation is about more than simply cutting costs – it’s about making a smart, sensible investment in our future, and casting my vote in favor of this legislation was a no-brainer.”
“With daunting student loan debt, there is not enough incentive for new graduates to choose a life of public service,” said Rep. Sarbanes, a member of the Education and Labor Committee. “We are seeing a trend where the best and brightest choose to enter the workforce in a place where they can be assured debt relief assistance or a salary that allows them to repay loans quickly. Today, public service is not that place. This will make it easier for many graduates to pursue a career of service.”
The College Cost Reduction Act is the largest investment in higher education in 60 years, and will provide billions of dollars in assistance to students and their families at no new cost to taxpayers. As college costs have increased by nearly 40% over the past five years, this legislation will make a college education more affordable for millions of students by cutting interest rates on subsidized student loans, providing tuition assistance to students who commit to teaching in public schools in high-poverty communities or needed subject areas, and providing loan forgiveness for public service workers after ten years of loan payments.