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Letter to the House of Representatives on the College Cost Reduction Act

July 10, 2007

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education's 3.2 million members, including some 200,000 students, faculty, and staff at postsecondary institutions, we urge your support of H.R. 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007. This important legislation, scheduled for floor consideration this week, includes monumental changes to federal student financial assistance. Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress. 

We applaud the long needed and awaited increases to the Pell Grant program included in H.R. 2669. These grants are fundamental to ensuring that our nation's neediest students have access to postsecondary education. Reducing interest rates on student loans and broadening public service loan forgiveness provisions are also critical, as loans will continue to be a significant component of most students' financial aid packages. 

We also are enthusiastic about the new TEACH grants which will, for the first time since just after World War II, provide the kind of financial support needed to those entering the important profession of teaching. This program will no doubt be seen in the same shining light as the GI bill, providing a foundation for a strong, effective teaching force. 

In addition, we commend the Committee for including language creating an Asian American and Pacific Islander Higher Education Serving Institution designation. Such a designation has long been a goal of NEA. We urge the inclusion of a strong serving institution designation provision in the final bill.

As the bill moves forward, we hope to continue working with the managers on a few provisions. Specifically, we have concerns over the inclusion of for-profit institutions in the TEACH grant provisions. Regarding college costs, we will continue our efforts to ensure that public institutions, which remain the most affordable and accessible postsecondary options for students, are provided the support they need to serve their students, their state, and our nation. We greatly appreciate the Committee's work with us on these issues thus far and look forward to continued collaboration with Committee members. 

Again, we urge your support for H.R. 2669.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy