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House Passes Welch-Authored Bipartisan College Affordability Legislation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

This afternoon, the House of Representatives approved two college affordability amendments authored by Representative Peter Welch and Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC). The amendments were offered to H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Act.

"A college education has always been the gateway to the American middle class," said Welch. "With college costs up 1,120 percent over the last 30 years, and with students nationwide racking up $1.2 trillion in college loan debts, a college diploma is slipping further and further from the reach of young Americans. I am pleased that the House today approved our bipartisan amendments that will lead to lower college costs."

"Too many students and families are struggling under the rising cost of higher education and student loan debt. The House is working to encourage innovation in our higher education system, promote flexible learning opportunities and reduce the cost of higher education," Gowdy said. "Our amendments included in today's bill will help reduce unnecessary and burdensome government regulations that can contribute to costs and prevent institutions from pursuing innovative solutions for students."

The first Welch-Gowdy amendment allows high school students participating in dual enrollment programs to earn college credit in the competency based learning program in the underlying bill. These students will be able to graduate sooner resulting in lower total tuition costs. The amendment passed by a vote of 413 to 0.

The second Welch-Gowdy amendment, initiated by Representative Welch at the request of Vermont's higher education leaders, creates a task force to review higher education regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The task force is charged with identifying unnecessary and costly regulations that contribute to escalating college operating costs. This amendment was unanimously approved by voice vote.

Both amendments were drawn from bipartisan legislation introduced last year by Welch and Gowdy (H.R. 3412: The Flexibility to Innovate for College Affordability Act).

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