The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

New legislation to lower college education costs

By André Green/managing editor

President Bush last week signed into law a bill expected to reduce the cost of higher education.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, or HR 2669, increases Pell Grant funding to $11.4 billion and reduces the interest rate on student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over the next five years.

Alex Carter, policy research associate of Campaign for America’s Future, said in a phone interview that the law’s passage gives students a better opportunity to complete college without incurring large amounts of debt.

“ The bill will increase the Pell Grant, cut interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans and set a loan repayment and forgiveness plan,” he said.

An additional $170 million will go toward historically black colleges and universities and create a new designation for predominantly black institutions—schools enrolling students in financial need and having a minimum 40 percent African-American student enrollment.

The newly designated schools also are eligible to receive $30 million in grant money through 2012.

The grants go to the fields of science, technology, engineering, health education and teacher education.

James E. Clyburn, House Majority WHIP, said in a press release, “I’m pleased the president joined congressional Democrats today in supporting a sound initiative that makes the largest investment in higher education and college aid programs since the Montgomery GI Bill.”

Additionally, the bill cuts approximately $20 billion in subsidies from loan providers, re-channeling the funds toward student aid. Clyburn said the subsidy cuts will keep taxpayers from financing the new legislation.

Carter lauded the efforts put forth to make Thursday’s signing possible, but added it was long overdue.

“ We campaigned for college affordability,” he said. “We put forth a considerable effort in having the bill pass.”

The resolution had been in the Congress for nearly two years, but partisan differences over funding and a veto threat from President Bush nearly ended the proposal before it reached the White House.

According to the Statement of Administration Policy July 10, President Bush’s advisors recommended a veto because they believed the bill would fail to target aid to the neediest students.

Additionally, they felt the CCRAA would create new mandatory federal programs and policies that were poorly designed and would have significant long-term costs to the taxpayer.

However, overwhelming support in the House (292-97) and Senate (79-12) producing veto proof majorities gained President Bush’s support.

“ The bill I sign today increases funding for Pell Grants by $11.4 billion over the next five years. It allows us to increase the maximum award to $5,400 by 2012,” he said. “These are positive steps, and they’re good steps. I wish we could make the Pell Grant process last year round.”

President Bush added he would like to work with the Congress to make the year-round process a reality.
The bill went into effect Monday.

More information on HR 2669 can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/thomas.

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