US House committee proposes new college affordability act
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor introduced the College Affordability Act, a comprehensive bill that aims to lower the cost of college for students and families, particularly for those attending public institutions and in minority communities, according to a committee press release.
Expanding on the Higher Education Act passed 10 years ago, the new proposal would, if passed and signed into law, restore state and federal investment in public colleges and universities, increase the value of Pell Grants, make student loans cheaper and easier to pay off, improve graduation rates and increase and permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions, according to the release.
Pell Grants would also be made available for short-term programs, which are intended to give students more access to high-quality programs, according to the release.
Approximately one-third of undergraduate students rely on Pell Grants for paying their tuition, with all of the various federal and financial aid programs total to more than $400 million a year, The Daily Targum reported last semester.
The proposed bill will also include stronger accountability to track and prevent cases of sexual assault, harassment and hazing, as well as crack down on for-profit colleges, according to the release.
“This proposal immediately cuts the cost of college for students and families and provides relief for existing borrowers,” said Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), according to the release. “At the same time, it improves the quality of education by holding schools accountable for their students’ success, and it meets students’ individual needs by expanding access to more flexible college options and stronger support — helping students graduate on time and move into the workforce.”
In a statement to the Targum, Dory Devlin, senior director of University News and Media Relations, said that Rutgers is determining how the proposal would affect students.
“We are pleased by the committee's focus on college affordability and are closely reviewing the legislative proposal to determine its full impact on Rutgers students,” Devlin said.
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