CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2669, COLLEGE COST REDUCTION AND ACCESS ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 07, 2007)
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Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, as a Member of the Education and Labor Committee, I rise today in strong support of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act--the single largest investment in college financial aid since the 1944 GI bill.
Working families in Illinois and around the Nation continue to struggle with the rising costs of college. This historic investment in higher education will begin to put a college degree back in reach for millions of average Americans, and do so at no new cost to U.S. taxpayers.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act would make need-based student loans more easily accessible and provide for additional mandatory funding for the Pell grant scholarship by at least $1,090 over the next 5 years,
benefiting nearly 230,000 students in Illinois, including over 22,000 newly eligible beneficiaries. Illinois students and their families will receive more than $1.2 billion over 5 years in the form of student loans and Pell grants as a result of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, this bill includes a provision to cut the interest rate on subsidized student loans in half over the next 5 years--from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent, benefiting 128,765 student borrowers in Illinois. Once fully phased in, it would save the average 4-year college student, who begins school in 2011, $4,510 over the life of his or her loan.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act pays for itself by reducing excessive Federal subsidies paid to lenders in the college loan industry by $20 billion. In the current budget-tight environment, the Federal Government should not be over-funding lenders while families struggle to send their kids to college.
Making college more affordable and accessible for working families is good for our economy, national security, and competitiveness in the world. I was proud to play a role in crafting this landmark legislation from the very beginning and I am honored to vote for its passage today. I urge my colleagues to join me in making college more affordable for our students and urge the President to sign this bill into law.
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