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Educators applaud introduction of the College Affordability Act


WASHINGTON - October 15, 2019 -

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García released the following statement in response to the House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott’s introduction of the College Affordability Act, comprehensive legislation to reauthorize and improve the Higher Education Act.

“Since 1965, the programs and principles embodied in the Higher Education Act have opened the door for countless Americans to earn a college education. It has furthered opportunities for all students, helping strengthen our economy and ensure a livable society for all Americans. But sadly, in recent years skyrocketing tuition coupled with dramatic disinvestment by states in their public colleges and universities have closed off the dream of a college education for too many Americans.

“Chairman Bobby Scott should be applauded for his College Affordability Act, which begins to turn the tide toward making high-quality higher education affordable for all students, improves the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program designed to help educators pay off their student debt, and supports our country’s HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. On behalf of our country’s educators and students, NEA is proud to strongly support Chairman Scott’s College Affordability Act and looks forward to the legislation moving swiftly through the House. We hope the Senate will follow Chairman Scott’s lead by pursuing a comprehensive reauthorization.”

Specifically the College Affordability Act would:

  • Ensure teachers have the right skills and tools to prepare students for the future, focusing on educator diversity, mentorship, residency models, and grow-your-own programs.
  • Substantially improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, allowing educators to earn debt relief earlier, while again rejecting the Donald Trump-Betsy DeVos efforts to end or block public servants’ from utilizing this program, which was designed intended to help educators, nurses, military personnel, and other public servants pay off their student debt.
  • Prioritize the needs and conditions of students and borrowers, as opposed to the lenders.
  • Permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for HBCUs and minority-serving institutions, and increase grant opportunities for these institutions to expand services for students.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.

CONTACT: Eric Jotkoff  
(202) 822-7355, ejotkoff@nea.org