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CNN - Larry King Live - Check List for Change

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CNN - Larry King Live - Check List for Change


"Well, I went to school on a Pell Grant, Larry. And I have to tell you, I'm not sure I'd be in the United States Senate or have been a successful executive at a software company if I hadn't had access to affordable college education, made through help and support of somebody who needed financial assistance."

"And right now, with the cuts in the Pell Grant program not keeping pace with the rate of inflation, the cost of education for families has gotten more expensive. So education's gone up 63 percent in costs. Family income's only gone up a few percent."

"So what we want is we want to pass legislation to increase Pell Grants, make the college tax deduction permanent, and make an investment, even give G.I.'s more opportunity in making the G.I. Bill permanent for life, so that they can continue their education opportunities as well."

He followed up with: "So you're saying it's not possible for anybody who wants to go to college to go to college?"

And Maria answered:

"I don't think the person that was in my situation today would have as many opportunities. And really this is a time period in our country where education is the meal ticket to this new economy. We want to empower individuals to have opportunities and empower our economy."

In the press conference, she discussed in more detail the education Checklist, and why the Bush Administration is failing America's students and families:

"We all know that the best guarantee of a good, secure job is a quality education. But in today's America, the gates of higher education are locked to many students because the cost is just too high. Since 2001, the cost of a public higher education has increased by a staggering 46 percent. In Washington state alone, tuition costs at 4-year public colleges have spiked-increasing 63 percent since the fall of 2000.

"Tuition costs are skyrocketing, but family incomes of those with college-age children rose by only 3.4 percent between 2000 and 2003. 3.4 percent increase in income versus 63 percent increase in costs? At that rate, there's no way that family incomes can ever be able to keep pace with those rising costs.

. . .

"Families shouldn't have to tell their children that they can't afford to send them to college this year, or the next. We can't let a college education become a privilege just for the wealthy. We have to make sure that families and students can afford college, regardless of their financial resources.

. . .

"In January of 2005, Republicans made the largest raid on student aid I've ever seen."

. . .

"The president says education is key to American competitiveness but his budget for next year proposes the single largest cut to federal education funding in the 26-year history of the Education Department-$2.2 billion. If that $2.2 billion cut following the $12.7 billion cut doesn't tell you where the Republicans' priorities are, I don't know what does."

. . .

"We need a new direction. Today we stand here to challenge the Republican Congress to act now in the best interest of America's students, America's families, and a competitive American economy. We challenge them to make a college education affordable for every American-don't just say you care, take the steps to make it possible."


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