DOLE VOTES TO PASS COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY AND AFFORDABILITY ACT
Higher Ed Overhaul Contains Several Dole-Authored Provisions
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole voted to pass the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2008, a bipartisan bill that revamps the Higher Education Act and incorporates provisions of Dole's Higher Education Affordability, Access, and Opportunity Act.
"Ensuring access to quality higher education is vital to keeping America economically competitive," said Dole. "Soaring college costs represent a serious obstacle for many students and their families, and it is important to have programs and resources in place to help prepare American workers for the jobs of the twenty-first century."
In the first comprehensive overhaul of the Higher Education Act in a decade, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act is designed to make college more accessible for hundreds of thousands of low-income, disabled, and military students. It increases the maximum Pell grant to $8,000, creates a $10,000 student loan forgiveness program for those who pursue employment in high-demand fields like nursing and education, makes college costs more transparent, simplifies the federal aid application by reducing it from seven pages to two, and gives members of the military the ability to defer federal student loan repayments interest-free while on active duty.
Also included in the bill are provisions of the Higher Education Affordability, Access, and Opportunity Act, which Dole introduced last year. Dole's bill aims to strengthen community college and job training programs by providing more targeted grant funding for institutions to build job training curriculum and helping local businesses partner with educational institutions to coordinate workforce development in high-growth industries.
"Across the country and especially in North Carolina, community colleges are the bedrock for local, high-demand job training," said Dole. "This bill will help North Carolina workers get the quality education they need to successfully compete in the global economy."
After passing by a 380 - 49 margin in the House earlier in the day, the measure passed in the Senate last night by a vote of 83 - 8. It now heads to the White House for the President's signature.