Smith Votes to Keep College Affordable
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) today voted for the "College Opportunity and Affordability Act" (H.R. 4137). Under the bipartisan bill, colleges and universities have to report reasons for tuition increases and steps they take to correct inefficiencies. The bill also identifies schools that cost the most and least, and schools with the greatest cost increases.
"A secure financial aid system is an essential part of our nation's higher education policy and transparency of that system is needed," said Congressman Smith. "Education must be both accessible and affordable and this bill will hold colleges and universities accountable to those paying for an education."
The bill creates a Web site where parents and students can go to search, compare and watch college costs.
As college tuition and fees increase, so does the amount of debt that students are saddled with. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2005, loans accounted for 56 percent of aid in the U.S. and grants accounted for 43 percent. In 2005, 66 percent of aid in Texas came from loans and 33 percent came from grants, including state and institutional grants. Also, Texas public four-year universities costs have risen each year. This means that costs are increasing at a higher rate in Texas compared to the nation.
This legislation holds states accountable to ensure college is affordable for students. It requires states to maintain a level of financial support that is equal to the average amount of financial aid funding over the past five years.
"College graduates in the U.S. earn nearly twice as much as those with just a high school degree so higher education is no longer a luxury --- it is essential," asserted Smith. "With state funding for higher education at an all time low, the financial need of our children will only grow in the future."