(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 []

                   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