College Cost Reduction and Access Act eases funding issues
The president touched his pen to the paper and began signing his name as he concluded the final step in the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act Thursday morning.
‘I have the honor of signing a bill that will help millions of low-income Americans earn a college degree,” President Bush said in his speech before signing the bill. “I love the fact that this country is dedicated to helping people who want to realize a dream.”
The president addressed an audience which included individuals directly impacted by the bill’s changes: Pell Grant recipients.
The bill will increase Pell Grant eligibility, along with an increase in the amount of money available to give students who receive the grants.
“The bill I sign today increased funding for Pell Grants by $11.4 billion over the next five years,” the president said.
The president also addressed the importance of post-secondary education for anyone, no matter their financial abilities.
“Pell Grants give young people a chance to pursue their dreams. They give our fellow citizens the chance to build a better future,” the president said.
Jeff Gregory, assistant to the director of financial aid at CU, also expressed the importance of Pell Grants, as well as other issues addressed within the bill.
“The three most important things about the bill are the increase in Pell Grants, the reduction in student loan interest rates and the protection of more of a student’s income,” Gregory said.
Over the next five years the bill will endeavor to cut interest rates on loans by a total of 50 percent from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent in 2012.
“This bill is urgently needed to help alleviate the huge financial toll that college costs are taking on students and their families,” Rachel Racuson, the deputy director for Congressman George Miller, said in an e-mail.
To address this issue in his speech, the president focused on job opportunities within the country.
“According to one study, 80 percent of the fastest-growing jobs in America require some sort of education after high school,” the president said. “We’ve got to stay competitive as we head into the 21st century, and the best way to stay competitive is to make sure people have access to good education.”
The bill will also allow for more flexibility to defer pay repayments for loans given to military personnel on active duty. As well as aid those who wish to gain a career in public services.
“This bill will help the millions of students who borrow federal student loans, who receive Pell Grant scholarships or who want to enter in public service fields like teaching, law enforcement military service and public interest law,” said Racusen.
The president also took time to thank many people involved in pushing for the passage of the bill, including Congressman Miller. Miller currently holds the position as chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and has put forth a lot of effort to improve education and its funding, including the No Child Left Behind Act.
“When George puts his mind to getting something done, he can get it done,” the president said.
Miller addressed the passage of the act in a statement later that day.
“With the College Cost Reduction and Access Act signed into law, millions of students will receive much needed help to pay for college,” Miller said. “I am extremely proud that the Democratic Congress has provided the greatest investment to help students and parents pat for college since the GI Bill and has delivered on our promise to make college more affordable and accessible for families.”
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