Washington, DC - Representative Gene Green today voted in support of H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) which passed 253-171. This bill will increase the number of college graduates by 2020 by making college more accessible by transforming the way our student loan programs operate and by expanding quality early education opportunities that will put more children on the path to success.
“This bill will help more Americans achieve their dream of a higher education by making college more affordable and investing in the entire educational experience,” said Green. “The best investment that a nation can make is in the education of its citizens, and I am glad that we are putting more resources into the continuing education of our current workforce and the future of our children.”
In addition to investing in college aid, this legislation will also reduce entitlement spending by $10 billion and will save taxpayers $87 billion over ten years by switching to the cheaper Direct Loan program, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Additionally this legislation invests and promotes community colleges by providing grants for community colleges to improve instruction, work with local employers, improve their student support services, and implement other innovative reforms that will lead to a college degree, certificate or industry-recognized credential to fulfill local workforce needs.
“Community colleges are a vital part of the training of our workforce and SAFRA invests in the modernization of their infrastructure by authorizing $2.5 billion for improvements,” said Green. “Many Houstonians depend on our local community college systems to prepare them for the jobs of the future so that they can compete in a global marketplace. The new Community College Challenge Grant Program will help transform community colleges into excellent education and job training centers.”
The bill reforms the system of federal student loans to save taxpayers $87 billion – and then invests $77 billion of those savings back into education, particularly by making college more affordable, and directs $10 billion back to the Treasury to reduce entitlement spending. Among its many provisions, it increases the maximum Pell Grant from $5,350 in 2009 to $5,550 in 2010 and $6,900 in 2019 and keeps interest rates low on subsidized federal student loans.
“Obtaining a job in today’s economy is tough enough without the additional hurdle of not having a college education. College graduates have the training and qualifications needed for many of the highest-paying and fastest growing jobs in our economy, and the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act will make a college education attainable for more Americans,” said Green.
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