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Rep. Goodlatte's weekly report
The future of higher education
By Bob Goodlatte, R-6th District
May31 -- This month, folks across the country will gather at high school graduations, where speeches will be delivered, diplomas awarded, and future plans speculated upon. For some students and families there is the promise of higher education. But for too many others, the burden of tuition costs is seemingly insurmountable. In Virginia, there has been a 13 percent increase in tuition at 2-year institutions and a 9 percent increase at 4-year institutions, from 2001 to 2002.
According to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, cost factors prevent nearly half of all college-qualified high school graduates from attending a four-year institution, and 22 percent from attending college at all…this despite the $73 billion in federal aid to help defray the rising cost of college. The skyrocketing cost of higher education is a dangerous trend given the often integral role it plays in attaining the American dream and maintaining American competitiveness in a changing global economy.
Our nation’s economic prosperity is directly linked to the know-how of our workers. This year the Higher Education Act, the federal aid legislation that provides grants and loan subsidies to college students every year, is scheduled for reauthorization in Congress. This fiscally responsible bill realigns federal higher education resources to better target low and middle-income students striving for a college education.
The bill reforms the consolidation loan program. Among other things, the legislation increases loan limits for first and second year students and repeals the 50 percent rule on distance education thereby increasing the opportunities for students to receive an education and increases outreach to students and families.
Over the period 2004-2009 the changes implemented by this legislation will provide $4.9 billion in benefits and improvements to students and their families.
In addition, I have cosponsored two bills, one which will reduce federal red tape that inhibits student aid programs, and the other which would eliminate the single lender rule that prohibits individuals with multiple loans from a single lender from consolidating their loans with other lending institutions. Both of these bills are pending before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
A few years ago, I led several Members of Congress, including the Chairman of the Higher Education Subcommittee, down to Roanoke to the Roanoke Higher Education Center.
The Center represents the future of higher education. It features distance learning technology which makes the facility more accessible to more people.
With so much developing in the realm of higher education both at home and across the country, I will continue to work in Congress to pass legislation which will expand college access for current and future students, thereby better preparing the next generation for an increasingly competitive global economy.