Issue Position: Preparing Our Children for the Future - Higher Education
I believe that a well-educated population is the key to our nation's success in the future. I support federal financial aid programs because I believe that it is in the best interest of our families, and our nation as a whole, to make higher education accessible to all Americans. Unfortunately, the rising costs of tuition have made it extremely difficult and even impossible for many low- and middle-income families to put their children through school. The investment that the federal government makes in these students strengthens our entire economy.
I am very supportive of programs that assist students to go to college who otherwise would not be able to afford to do so. The Pell Grant program is the largest need-related post-secondary student grant program administered by the Department of Education. Each year, the Pell Grant Program provided about $12 billion to more than 5 million students. In addition to the Pell Grant program, I strongly support programs which help at-risk students prepare for and succeed in college. Programs such as TRIO and GEAR-UP have shown tremendous success in this area and I continue to support funding for these programs.
Although we again face tight budgetary challenges this year, I believe we must continue to work to increase funding for these important Financial Aid programs as the appropriations process continues. Federal programs such as the Pell Grant, TRIO and GEAR-UP help to ensure that every student in America can choose higher education regardless of his or her financial or social background. These programs are an investment in our future and an investment in a diverse, educated population who will lead this country in the 21st century.