House Passes Bill To Address Rising College Prices & Remove Other Barriers To College Enrollment

Feb 7, 2008 Issues: Education
(Washington D.C.)-  The U.S. House of Representatives voted today 354-58 in favor of the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137).  The legislation builds on Congress’ efforts to make college more accessible and affordable.

“A college education continues to be the best pathway to a good paying job, and having a well-educated workforce is crucial to our nation’s economic success,” said Rep. Sander Levin, who voted in favor of the legislation.  “But in just the last five years, tuition and fees at public colleges have grown 31 percent, and many are finding a college degree out of reach.  All qualified students that desire a university degree should have the opportunity to earn one, and this legislation will help make higher education more accessible.”

The bill would address rising tuition prices by encouraging colleges to rein in price increases, ensuring that states maintain their commitments to higher education funding, allowing students to receive Pell Grant scholarship aid year round, and providing students and families with consumer-friendly information on college pricing, the factors driving tuition increases and tools to manage rising text book costs.  The legislation also includes increased college aid for veterans, military families, low-income and minority students.

H.R. 4137 also further strengthens provisions to avoid conflicts of interest in student loan programs, simplify the federal student aid application process and provide vital consumer protections on federal and private student loans.

The legislation is the second major step that the new majority in Congress has taken to make college more affordable and accessible for all qualified students.  Last year, Congress enacted into law a $20 billion increase in college financial aid over the next five years, the largest increase in student aid since the G.I. Bill of 1944.