Expanding Access to Higher Education – The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act

Posted on by Karina

The economic recession has made the growing college affordability crisis even worse for America’s students and families. Expanding access to an affordable college education is one of surest ways we can build our way out of this recession, and build a stronger, more competitive American economy for years to come. One of President Obama’s most important strategies for helping regain our nation’s lost economic ground is to ensure that America once again leads the world in college graduates by 2020. To get there, we need to dramatically re-work our nation’s financial aid programs so that they deliver student aid more effectively to more students and families – and are more cost-effective for taxpayers.

Today, the House began consideration of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (HR 3221) to ensure that higher education is more affordable. The bill adds no additional expense to taxpayers — in fact, it saves money. The legislation will generate almost $100 billion in savings over the next 10 years that will be used to increase Pell Grant scholarships, keep interest rates on federal loans affordable, and safeguard federal student loan access for families.

Speaker Pelosi, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and other lawmakers and students held a press conference to talk about the legislation and urge its passage yesterday:

If you are a student, or have kids going to college, here’s what’s in the bill for you:

More Help Covering College Tuition and Expenses

Higher Pell Grant scholarship of $5,550 in 2010 and $6,900 in 2019 (about 6 million students received the Pell Grant scholarship in 2007-2008)

Lower interest rates on need-based (subsidized) federal student loans (nationwide about 5.5 million students borrow these loans each year)

More access to Perkins loan program by expanding it to every U.S. college campus (last year approximately 495,000 students received a Perkins Loan)

Shorter, simpler FAFSA form that makes applying for financial aid easier (in 2003-2004, over 1.5 million college students who likely were eligible to receive Pell Grants didn't apply for financial aid because they found the FAFSA form too confusing)

Better Opportunities to Prepare for Good Jobs

New college access and completion programs to help you stay in school and graduate

Innovative partnerships between colleges, businesses and job training programs to help you get the real-world experience and skills you need to be ready for the jobs of the future

Free, high-quality, online training and high school and college courses

Financial Aid Programs That Are Worry-Free and Operate In Your Best Interest

Gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your federal student loans are stable

Removes any potential for conflicts of interest between lenders and colleges

Guarantees you the best customer service available when you repay your student loans

The House will vote on the legislation tomorrow. Learn more:’s Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act current legislation page>>

HR 3221′s Facebook page>>

Read the bill>>

Education and Labor Committee’s Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act page>>

Supporters of the bill>>

Myths vs. Facts>>

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