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Public Statements

Cantwell: Senate's Pell Grant Expansion Will Make College More Affordable

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Location: Washington, DC

Washington Students Would Get Over $340 Million in New Grant Aid and Over $200 Million for Pell Grant Aid Next Year

Friday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) praised quick Senate passage of legislation to make college more affordable. By a vote of 78 to 18, late Thursday night the Senate passed the Higher Education Access Act of 2007 to make college more affordable for more Americans at no cost to taxpayers by reducing excessive lender subsidies and redirecting federal aid to students who need it most.

"With 60 percent of new jobs requiring some post-secondary education, instead of 15 percent half a century ago, the best guarantee of a good, secure job in this global economy is a quality education," said Cantwell. "Skyrocketing tuition is making it more and more difficult for Americans to earn a college degree without going deep into debt. With this bill we're helping more Americans attend college because no one should be forced to mortgage their future to pay for their education."

With the help of federal Pell Grants, Cantwell was the first member of her family to graduate from college. She has worked to make college affordable since taking office. After the president's 2008 budget proposal eliminated Perkins Loan funding and cut back funding for Pell Grants, Cantwell wrote letters to Budget Committee leaders asking them to restore the Perkins Loan funding and raise the maximum Pell Grant award from $4,310 to $5,100.

This year, she reintroduced her legislation to increase by an average of $3,000 the tax benefits for families saving money for their children's education. This year, she reintroduced her legislation to increase by an average of $3,000 the tax benefits for families saving money for their children's education. Her Education Savings for Students Act would increase the maximum contribution to Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to $5,000 per year—up from its current level of $2,000.

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