Mr. CASTRO of Texas. Mr. Speaker, over the last 4 months, I have been proud to work towards building out what I have called the Infrastructure of Opportunity for our Nation. Recently, I had the opportunity to file legislation to reinforce one of the major cornerstones of that infrastructure: access to colleges and universities.
A few weeks ago, I filed the Student Aid Expansion Act of 2013 that will provide higher education students increased access to affordable financial aid. As we've all witnessed across our districts, the cost of tuition continues to rise. In Texas, for example, tuition and fees at public institutions have increased over 90 percent since 2003.
Meanwhile, students and families are left looking for ways to keep their higher education affordable. Over the last 10 years, we have seen students rely more heavily on loans to finance their education. Fifty-two percent of direct student aid now comes in the form of loans.
The Student Aid Expansion Act of 2013 would remove barriers that are currently preventing our institutions of higher education from promoting affordable, State-based alternatives. These types of loans are zero interest and can be fully forgiven if a student does well in school. Importantly, this legislation will not cost Federal, State, or local governments a single dime.