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Public Statements

Protecting Academic Freedom Higher Education Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, I thank my friend from California. And here I join the New Jersey Presidents Council, which represents all the institutions of higher education in New Jersey, in support of this legislation, as well as the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey who support this bill, as well as the American Council on Education, which represents 1,600 college presidents around the country in support of this bill.

Clearly, there ha Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, I thank my friend from California. And here I join the New Jersey Presidents Council, which represents all the institutions of higher education in New Jersey, in support of this legislation, as well as the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey who support this bill, as well as the American Council on Education, which represents 1,600 college presidents around the country in support of this bill.

Clearly, there have been abuses in some businesses and some institutions and those abuses have to be addressed, but this legislation I think makes sure that we go about it in the right way.

I'd like to quote from one of my constituents, President Shirley Tilghman of Princeton University. She writes:

Unlike many nations elsewhere in the world, the United States has nurtured a vibrant and vigorous respect for academic freedom. Under such a system, American higher education has flourished.

She goes on:

But if recent trends continue, in which the staff at accrediting agencies seek to substitute their own judgments about what mission an institution should pursue and about how the institutions can best achieve that mission and measure success, we risk damaging the country's leading institutions.

In other words, the Department's rules strike at the heart of our excellent higher education. But whether these rules are in effect or not doesn't matter if students can't afford to go to college.

My amendment to this legislation to require Pell Grants be maintained at at least the current level of $5,500 was not made in order. Now, in New Jersey, 213,000 students use Pell Grants to make college affordable.

There's bipartisan agreement on Ms. Foxx's bill, but unfortunately this is a partisan matter. I've been abuses in some businesses and some institutions and those abuses have to be addressed, but this legislation I think makes sure that we go about it in the right way.

I'd like to quote from one of my constituents, President Shirley Tilghman of Princeton University. She writes:

Unlike many nations elsewhere in the world, the United States has nurtured a vibrant and vigorous respect for academic freedom. Under such a system, American higher education has flourished.

She goes on:

But if recent trends continue, in which the staff at accrediting agencies seek to substitute their own judgments about what mission an institution should pursue and about how the institutions can best achieve that mission and measure success, we risk damaging the country's leading institutions.

In other words, the Department's rules strike at the heart of our excellent higher education. But whether these rules are in effect or not doesn't matter if students can't afford to go to college.

My amendment to this legislation to require Pell Grants be maintained at at least the current level of $5,500 was not made in order. Now, in New Jersey, 213,000 students use Pell Grants to make college affordable.

There's bipartisan agreement on Ms. Foxx's bill, but unfortunately this is a partisan matter.

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Mr. HOLT. The Republicans in the House have three times approved a budget that would slash the maximum Pell Grant award to $3,040, the lowest since 1998. Slashing Pell Grants would put college out of reach for thousands of students.

I call on the Republicans, because this is a partisan matter, to protect Pell Grants and not roll them back to their 1998 levels in their budget this year.

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