It is important to provide our nation's students with an opportunity to receive a quality education. There are few things more valuable to an individual than a good education and few things more valuable to a community than educated residents. And, I know that a generous financial aid system is essential to providing access to higher education for students.
During the 110th Congress, legislation was approved to bolster our higher education system and make college more affordable. The "Higher Education Opportunity Act," which was the first reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 10 years, passed the House with my support and was signed into law on August 14, 2008. This legislation eases the financial burden imposed on students and families. Higher education must be both accessible and affordable and this bill holds colleges and universities accountable to those paying for an education.
As college tuition and fees rise, students are burdened with an increasing amount of debt. 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.
I will continue to support measures that invest in our young people's education - America's future leaders.
No Child Left Behind:
Attention needs to return to America's educational priorities. For far too long we have ignored our students' achievements. Our children deserve better. They need quality teachers, quality instruction time, and quality schools with the flexibility to implement sound teaching programs.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education:
Science and technology are critical to national security, economic strength, and quality health care. We must make the necessary investments in basic research and science education to ensure that the United States remains the world's leader in technology and innovation.
I support students' involvement in the sciences and believe young people should be encouraged to study in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). That is why I have supported legislation such as the "College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2008," which helps make college more affordable for all individuals and expands college access and support for low-income and minority students and individuals entering the fields of math and science. This legislation also strengthens our workforce and our competitiveness.
I also supported the America COMPETES Act of 2007, which provides students, teachers, businesses and workers the tools to compete in the 21st century economy. To compete in today's high-tech global economy we need to encourage innovation, foster creativity and promote a talented workforce. This is a critical challenge facing our country. The America COMPETES Act offers incentives for students to pursue careers in math and science and ensures American classrooms are filled with highly qualified teachers. These measures ensure the next generations of Americans are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.