As students from all across the country head back to school, I wanted to take a moment to remind you of my efforts to make education a priority in the San Fernando Valley.
A quality education is the key to success and is one of the best investments we can make as a nation. That is why I have fought for the past 15 years to bring more funds to Valley schools. Most recently I worked to secure $331 million for Los Angeles schools for the 2012-2013 school year.
The average U.S. public school building is 40 years old, with billions needed for school maintenance and repairs nationwide. Along with my colleagues, I helped introduce the Fix America's Schools Today (FAST) Act which would provide $25 billion to improve our schools. This would immediately put people back to work rebuilding and modernizing school buildings.
I also helped secure federal funds for the Guadalupe Community Center, a local organization which provides counseling, tutoring, and after school activities for local students. At the beginning of each school year my staff and I gather at the Guadalupe Community Center to help distribute much needed school supplies to kids from the West Valley. This center is indispensable for the community.
I have also fought to fully fund Head Start, a program that helps parents afford the child care they need to hold jobs, and gives young children a head start in their education. A good head start can help students achieve their goals of attaining a college degree or higher.
Helping students and families manage the cost of a higher education has been one of my top priorities in Congress. I cosponsored and helped pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, the single largest investment in our nation's history assisting students and families pay for college. This legislation included an increase in the maximum Pell grant, which now allocates $5,550 per student to help students pay for higher education. It also implemented the American Opportunity Tax credit, which provides a $2,500 tuition tax credit to students and families.
In July, my colleagues and I helped prevent student loan interest rates from doubling by passing the College Cost Reduction Act extension -- a measure which extended low interest rates for student loans. Without this Congressional action, almost eight million undergraduate students would have seen the interest rates on their need-based student loans double from 3.4% to 6.8% - costing the average borrower more than $2,800 in additional interest payments.
Our Valley office regularly assists prospective and current students, as well as graduates who are still paying off their loans, learn about their student loan options. Please call (818) 501-9200 if you have any questions.
However, in order to continue to do my job, I need to hear your views on both local issues and those affecting our entire nation. I continue to believe that there are more good ideas in the Valley than in Washington, which is why I appreciate hearing from you. Do not hesitate to contact my San Fernando Valley office to share yours, (818) 501-9200, or come to my next Town Hall Meeting, visit my website for details: www.BradSherman.house.gov.