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Congress puts students and rural educators ahead of partisan politics

Compromise keeps students rates from increasing, guarantees federal funds for rural schools

WASHINGTON - June 29, 2012 -

The U.S. Congress today reached a compromise on student loan rates and on guaranteeing federal funds to save education jobs in rural schools. The deal on a transportation bill also would distribute about $346 million to 700 counties in 41 states by extending the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

“The timely action by Congress to keep student loan rates from increasing is an affirmation of our belief that a college education shouldn’t be a privilege to some but a right to all who want to achieve the American dream,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “The deal is welcome news to the 7.5 million Americans who borrow money from the federal government to pay for college tuition and expenses. And we are especially pleased that a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act will stem the tide of layoffs, allowing educators in rural schools to breathe easier and continue focusing on providing children with a great, high-quality education. This extension could not have happened without bipartisan support,” concluded Van Roekel.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,