U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, today issued the following statement after the College Board released its annual "Trends in Higher Education Series" highlighting trends in both student aid (for the 2011-2012 school year) and college pricing (for the 2012-2013 school year).
During the 2012- 2013 academic year, students at public four-year colleges and universities saw an increase of 4.8 percent in tuition and fees from $8,256 in 2011-12 to $8,655 in 2012-13. In the previous two academic years, tuition and fees had increased by 8.4 and 8.0 percent, respectively. In the 2011-2012 academic year, a record 9.4 million students, 37 percent of all students in higher education, received a Pell Grant.
"The College Board study shows that, with college costs continuing to rise, ensuring continued access to federal student aid programs must be a national priority," said Rep. Miller. "It also indicates that steps previous Democratic Congresses have taken to help make college more affordable are paying off. We've increased Pell Grants and created the income-based repayment plan that ensures students have reasonable student loan payments. And now, more students than ever before are receiving Pell Grants and federal loans -- putting a college degree within reach for millions of students. But more work needs to be done. Congress should be working together to address college costs, and protect access to student aid, not threaten it with budget cuts. "
Past Democratic Congresses have made historic investments to make college more affordable -- all at no new cost to taxpayers. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, legislation authored by Miller and passed as part of health care reform, saved more than $60 billion by converting all new federal student lending to the stable, effective and cost-efficient Direct Loan program, and invested in college aid at no new cost to taxpayers. Democrats in Congress increased the Pell Grant award to keep up with the rising cost of college and created the income-based repayment program to ensure graduates can manage loan repayments.