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Educators applaud House Education and Labor Committee passage of the College Affordability Act


WASHINGTON - October 31, 2019 -

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García released the following statement in response to the House Education and Labor Committee’s passage of the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674), comprehensive legislation to reauthorize and improve the Higher Education Act.

“Educators across the nation applaud the House Education and Labor Committee today for passing the College Affordability Act. This critical legislation 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 historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. It is a critical first step to renewing the promise made in 1965 with the passage of the Higher Education Act and will help reopen the door to so many Americans whose dream of earning a college education had been closed due to skyrocketing tuition.

“We look forward to the full House of Representatives taking up and passing this legislation in the near future. And we continue encouraging the Senate to move forward with a comprehensive and bipartisan reauthorization process.”

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-based 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 to help educators, nurses, military personnel, and other public servants pay off their student debt. 
  • Expand Public Service Loan Forgiveness eligibility for adjunct and contingent faculty members of institutions of higher education.
  • 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