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House Democrats Introduce Legislation to Make College Affordable

House Democrats introduced a major legislation on Tuesday that would put a halt to rising tuition across campuses.

The College Affordability Act introduced by the Committee on Education and Labor seeks to improve the quality of education by holding post-secondary institutions accountable, lowering the cost of attending college for students and families and providing the necessary support to succeed.

The bill would secure these aims by restoring state and federal investments in public colleges and universities, increasing the value of Pell Grants and making existing student loans cheaper and easier to pay off. Students enrolling in short-term programs would also become eligible to receive Pell Grants.

“This proposal immediately cuts the cost of college for students and families and provides relief for existing borrowers,” said Committee Chairman Bobby Scott.

At the same time, it improves the quality of education by holding schools accountable for their students’ success, and it meets students’ individual needs by expanding access to more flexible college options and stronger support – helping students graduate on time and move into the workforce.”

In addition, the bill would crack down on predatory for-profit colleges that defraud students and permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority Serving Institutions.

To ensure security on campus, the bill would introduce stronger accountability to track and prevent cases of sexual assault, harassment, hazing and block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s survivor-blaming Title IX rule.

The bill received applause from various higher education organizations with many calling it as a “bold vision for tackling” many challenges faced by college and university students.

“We are encouraged to see that the College Affordability Act includes recommendations that align with Higher Learning Advocates’ priorities to expand robust supports for today’s students,” said Higher Learning Advocates executive director Julie Peller.

While Antoinette Flores, associate director for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress said, “we are particularly encouraged to see this bill adopt measures we’ve called for to ensure that accreditors are helping all students receive a high-quality education that meets their needs and are strengthening the department’s oversight efforts—protecting both students and taxpayers.”

TICAS Issues Policy Framework for Making College Affordable

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