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Public Statements

Higher Education Opportunity Act--Conference Report

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, education is at the core of America's basic promise--that all Americans should be able to make the most of their potential.

Every young person should graduate from high school, and every young person who works hard and wants to go to college should be able to afford it. And all Americans should be able to get the skills they need to succeed throughout their lives.

Today, I am supporting the Higher Education Opportunity Act conference report because it will advance key reforms that will address the soaring
price of a college education and remove obstacles that make it harder for qualified students to attend college. This legislation is an important step forward for students and their families. It will help reduce their college costs and will help expand the future growth of our economy.

This legislation would not have been possible without the leadership of Senator Edward M. Kennedy who has tirelessly dedicated his time in the Senate to helping children and their families gain increased access to education. It is another victory for Senator Kennedy, whose record of achievement in the Senate has helped benefit the lives of virtually every man, woman and child in the country. As we adopt this legislation, I want Senator Kennedy to know that we miss him, that we are thinking of him as he recovers from his illness and we congratulate him on this important accomplishment.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act will hold colleges more accountable for increasing costs and will simplify the federal financial aid application process. The legislation will make textbook costs more manageable for students by helping them plan for textbook expenses in advance of each semester. It will increase college aid and support programs for veterans and military families. This legislation will ensure equal college opportunities and fair learning environments for students with disabilities. It includes new measures to curb unethical practices in the student loan industry, increasing federal grant aid to our neediest students, and strengthen college pipeline programs.

The Higher Education Reauthorization Act will help ensure that all Americans can make the most of their God-given talents. Educating our children is a key part of ensuring a strong economy in the future. It will help make college affordable for all and expand lifelong learning. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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