Pelosi: Republican Higher Education Bill a Missed Opportunity for America's Students
Washington D.C - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today on the Republicans' higher education bill, which does little to make college more affordable and more accessible:
"The high cost of a college education is prohibiting many of our young people from following their dreams. We must support these students by helping make college more affordable - and this bill is a missed opportunity.
"College students in America are saddled with an average of $17,500 in debt, and they face rising tuition costs year after year - average tuition and fees for four-year public colleges has risen more than 40 percent since 2001. Yet this bill fails to provide urgently needed assistance for millions of students and families who are trying to figure out how they are going to pay for college. This bill does nothing to lower the cost of college loans, and even freezes the maximum Pell Grant scholarship - at just $200 above current levels.
"To add insult to injury, just this past December, Republicans made a raid on student aid, cutting $12 billion from student aid programs in the Budget Reconciliation Bill. House Democrats believe that every student should have the opportunity to go to college without going deeply into debt.
"Congressmen George Miller, Dale Kildee, Bobby Scott, Danny Davis, and Raul Grijalva put forward a Democratic substitute that would have begun to reverse the Republican raid on student aid. It would have cut the interest rates for student loans in half, resulting in $2.5 billion in relief for students and their families. The Democratic legislation also boosted college opportunities for minority students, by particularly investing in their success.
"The students at our nation's colleges and universities are our next generation of leaders, and they are doing their best to create a bright future for themselves. We should support them with a real federal investment in their education - not a sham that does not help American students and families pay for college."