As students and families struggle with the rising costs of higher education, Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO) has a plan to help them pay for college.
"For the past few years families have tightened their belts and consolidated their debts, yet, their financial concerns over sending their kids to college have only grown as the cost of tuition has increased at an alarming rate. That is why I am introducing a bill that will help families and students maximize their higher education savings," Gardner said.
Fellow Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) is an original co-sponsor of Gardner's bill and had this to say about it: "This legislation will help more families afford the high costs of a college education. It is an innovative use of the tax code to benefit students."
The Making College Affordable Act will increase the tax exempt contribution that can be made to a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). Under current law, contributions are capped at $2,000 annually and can only be made until the beneficiary reaches the age of 18. Under Gardner's bill, the annual contribution limit would be increased to $10,000 and contributions could be made until the beneficiary turns 26.
College costs are increasing faster than the cost of living. Over the past 10 years the cost of private college has jumped more than 60 percent, nearly three times as much as incomes over the same period. Average tuition at a private institution costs $42,000 a year. Budget conditions have forced public colleges to increase tuition even more, and some states have seen it nearly double in the last decade.
Gardner's Making College More Affordable Act has already gained the endorsement of Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
CU Senior Vice Chancellor and CFO Kelly Fox said about the bill: "The Making College Affordable Act is an important step forward in helping families tackle education expenses. Even as the University of Colorado Boulder strives to become a more efficient institution, I'm very aware of the financial stresses placed on families by the cost of higher education. Legislation like the Making College Affordable Act provides a financial leg-up for families by modernizing the Coverdell Education Savings Account program to help better address the challenges of college costs today."