Aid bill passes

“The single largest investment in college financial assistance since the 1944 GI Bill, passed through congress Sept. 7. The College Cost Reduction Act is designed to offset the cost of college which as grown 40 percent in the last five years, according to the House Education and Labor Committee.”

The single largest investment in college financial assistance since the 1944 GI Bill, passed through congress Sept. 7.

The College Cost Reduction Act is designed to offset the cost of college which as grown 40 percent in the last five years, according to the House Education and Labor Committee. The bill also provides incentives for students to not only graduate, but to choose public service, the military or teaching as a career.

It is to boost college financial aid more than $20 billion over the next five years and cut interest rates on subsidized student loans, according to a press release from the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus.

At this time, getting an education is more important than it’s ever been, getting an education is also more difficult than it’s ever been, said Rep. Zack Space (D-OH, in a conference call Wednesday.

This is going to help thousands in fact, even 100,000 of kids just in Ohio, escape the jaws of poverty or allow kids from working families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go to college, to now get an education.

The bill will provide more funds to students who need them and it will do it at no cost to taxpayers. Funds are being cut and redirected from subsidies paid by the federal government to lenders in the student loan industry, according to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

I made it through school with the investment that previous generations made in me through the GI Bill and the ability to get Pell Grants and low interest guaranteed student loans, Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn) said in the same phone call.

Walz was a former high school teacher until 2006, when he was elected to office.

As a high school teacher, one of the saddest and most discouraging things for me to was to see an incredibly capable student have to make the decision not to attend college simply based on finances, he said. It makes middle class families like I came from, a family that could not have afforded school with out this, to allow people to get degrees and become productive members of society.

The bill also increases the amount of Pell Grants given to students, as well as the number of grants given out.

Over the course of the next five years they’re going to jump by about 1,400 dollars a year. It’s presently at $4,050, Space said. It will jump to $4,310 this year; $4,800 in 08-09; and $5,000 by 2010-2011; and finally $5,400 by 2012.

Those are significant increases, and the end result is that many bright, ambitious, young people are going to be able to do school now, that other wise would not have been able to.

This legislation also provides funding to students who choose to work in public service or education.

There is also some language in the legislation that will promote public service, Space said. There is a provision for loan forgiveness after 10 years for public servants, which will include military service members, first responders, firefighters, nurses, early childhood educators, and that will strongly incentify these bright young kids to go into fields where they’re needed.

Again, smart legislation designed not just to help and benefit individuals, but to benefit society as well.

In this we incentivize people who want to go in and teach in public shools and in some of our high need districts and high need subjects, we’re going to get them up to 16 thousand dollars in aid, in tuition assistance, Walz said. We’re really focusing on getting good quality effective high school teachers into the class room.

The research shows how important that is, but quite honestly right now when I talk to some of the best and brightest I taught, its very difficult for them to justify racking up any where in the neighborhood of between 15, to 40 thousand dollars to get a teaching job that would not pay the student loan let alone pay for a car or their house.

Both representatives agree this bill was only accomplished because of the democratically controlled congress.

Unfortunately, over the last decade the Republican-controlled Congress has shifted the ability to get loans from the private sector that continue to profit off the backs of our students, Walz said.

Without the Democratic majority, I can assure you this legislation never would have happened, Space said.