Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
COLLEGE COST REDUCTION ACT OF 2007
(Extensions of Remarks - July 17, 2007)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E1538] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] COLLEGE COST REDUCTION ACT OF 2007 ______ speech of HON. BETTY McCOLLUM of minnesota in the house of representatives Wednesday, July 11, 2007 Ms. McCOLLUM of Minnesota. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the College Cost Reduction Act and congratulate Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller for keeping our promise to students and their families by bringing this legislation to the floor. H.R. 2669 is the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill. Currently, 200,000 potential students do not attend college because of the cost. Many more are unable to attend a four-year college and millions more graduate with an unsustainable level of debt. Democrats have made access to higher education a priority because it is a critical investment in the future of students and families, and because we recognize that our economy and our global competitiveness depend on this country maintaining a highly skilled workforce. In Minnesota, tuition at public universities has increased 57 percent since 2000. However, incomes for middle class families have not kept up with this growth. H.R. 2669 makes several important changes to make sure that students are not priced out of higher education. Every qualified student who wants to attend college should have that opportunity. And importantly, with this legislation we are able to do so without increasing the national debt burden for the students we are helping today. The College Cost Reduction Act will raise the maximum Pell Grant scholarship by $500. Along with the work of the Appropriations Committee this year, the maximum grant award will reach $5,100 by 2011. This is a critical increase for students after several years of this grant level remaining frozen at $4,050 while tuition costs soared. H.R. 2669 cuts interest rates on student loans in half which will reduce debt for millions of student borrowers. The average student savings will be $4,400 over the life of the loan. The bill also increases Federal loan limits, reducing the need for the more-expensive private loans, and requires that student loan payments are manageable for borrowers by ensuring that no one pays more than 15 percent of their discretionary income in loan repayments. H.R. 2669 recognizes that the salaries for some of the most important jobs in our communities--teachers, first responders, early childhood educators, law enforcement officers and others--do not always match the value of their work. This bill provides loan forgiveness and some upfront tuition assistance for students interested in a career in public service. By reducing very generous lender subsidies, this bill gives priority to students over profits without creating an undue burden for lenders. I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this critical legislation. ____________________