Congressman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) yesterday voted in favor of the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137), which will increase access, affordability, and accountability in higher education.
"For far too long the federal government has been spending billions of dollars on education without expanding access to colleges and universities for low and middle-income students," said Roskam. "The passage of this important legislation will strengthen America's education system by expanding college access while restoring the focus on students."
This legislation is crafted to empower consumers through access to increased information on tuition costs, financial aid, and accreditation. One provision of this bill will increase the scrutiny on excessive tuition hikes with the creation of a Quality Efficiency Task Force to identify factors that have led to cost increases and what can be done to address them.
"As the cost of higher education rises, year after year, it has become evident that not only do we need to focus on students, we need to hold these educational institutions accountable for their practices - from tuition increases to text book costs," continued Roskam. "College and universities are now on notice that American students, or consumers, will now have increased access to information about what they are getting for their money."
Other important provisions of this bill include:
- Ensures greater transparency and disclosure to help students and schools keep textbooks accessible and affordable.
- Reauthorizes and strengthens federal college access programs for low and middle-income students, including TRIO and GEAR UP.
- Provides loan forgiveness opportunities for professionals in high-demand fields including; nurses, early childhood educators, foreign language specialists.
- Expands Pell Grant eligibility to children who lost a parent or guardian as a result of the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan since September 11, 2001.
- Guarantees in-state tuition for members of the armed forces and their dependents; also guarantees tuition costs cannot raise if a dependent's parents are re-stationed out of state.
- Prevents interest from accruing for active duty service members (including National Guard members) for the duration of their activation and up to 60 months when serving in a combat zone.