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Conference Report on H.R. 4137, Higher Education Opportunity Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 4137, HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY ACT

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Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act. I want to thank my colleagues on the Education and Labor Committee and in the Senate for their commitment to this important piece of legislation. While this reauthorization is long overdue, I believe this compromise bill will provide millions of our nation's students with increased access to higher education.

This bipartisan bill will help provide families with critical information about the cost of college and student financial aid programs. By helping families better understand the true financial costs of higher education and how they can apply for student aid, families will be better able to make informed choices about their student's education.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act truly an investment in education at all levels. To provide all of our children with a high quality education that will better prepare them for success in school and in life we must ensure that there is a qualified, caring, competent teacher in every classroom, particularly in the early years. This bill makes great progress toward this goal by expanding student loan forgiveness and professional development programs that will help recruit, prepare, and retain teachers in the field of early education.

This bill will also provide more low-income and minority students with support to prepare for and successfully attend college. I am particularly pleased to see provisions in this reauthorization that provide much-needed resources to Native Hawaiian-serving institutions for programs to help Native Hawaiians meet the demands of careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Again, I want to thank my colleagues from both chambers for their tireless efforts in advancing this significant legislation. In particular, I would like to recognize Senator Ted Kennedy for his leadership and for his years of dedication to improving access to high quality education for all of our students.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

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