House, Senate Pass Largest Increase in College Aid in 63 Years at No Cost to Taxpayers</A

Sep 7, 2007

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) today voted with a bipartisan majority in the House to approve legislation that would help tens of thousands of Washington state students pay for college at no new cost to U.S. taxpayers.  The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (H.R. 2669) would make the single largest investment in college financial aid since the 1944 GI Bill, boosting funding available to students by $20 billion over the next five years and cutting interest rates on subsidized student loans in half over the next four years. The legislation – which passed the House today by a vote 292 to 97 -- pays for itself by reducing federal subsidies paid to lenders in the college loan industry. The Senate passed the bill earlier today.

 “It's past time our country made higher education more affordable for students and families,” said Larsen. “The College Cost Reduction and Access Act increases aid to Washington students by $442 million over five years to help more Washington students pay for college without going dangerously into debt. I urge the President to sign this bill into law.”

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act would increase the maximum value of the Pell Grant scholarship by $1,090 over the next five years, reaching $5,400 by 2012. Over 85,000 students in Washington state and almost 6 million students across the country would benefit from this increase.

The legislation would help prevent students from drowning in debt by guaranteeing that borrowers will never have to spend more than 15 percent of their yearly discretionary income on loan repayments, and by allowing borrowers facing economic hardship to have their loans forgiven after 25 years.  

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act includes a number of other provisions that would ease the financial burden on students and families, including tuition assistance for excellent undergraduate students who agree to teach in the nation's public schools and loan forgiveness for college graduates who go into public service professions.