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Clarke Calls For More Funding For Higher Education

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11) made the following statement today on the floor of the House of Representatives during the discussion on H.R. 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007.  Below is her prepared statement:


“It gives me great pleasure to rise today in support of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007-H.R. 2669.


The cost of attending college has increased by 40% over the past five years.  As a result, students are graduating with more debt than ever or postponing enrollment or avoiding college altogether because they just can’t afford it.  This legislation is a much needed sigh of relief for traditional college students, working families, and adult learners in my home district of Brooklyn, NY and across the nation. 


The College Cost Reduction Act cuts interest rates in half on subsidized student loans over the next five years; increases the amount of federal loans available to students; increases Pell Grants by $500 over the next four years and expands the eligibility. 


HR 2669 rewards public service by providing loan forgiveness to first responders, law enforcement officers, nurses, early childhood educators, and others that are so vital to the sustainability of local communities. 


And so, I ask you for your enthusiastic support for this ground breaking bill.”


H.R. 2669 is the single largest investment in higher education since the GI Bill that was signed in 1944.  This legislation reinvests in higher education without further burdening the taxpayers, and instead by cutting excess subsidies to lenders in the student loan industry. 


With the passage of H.R. 2669, New York would receive an interest rate cut savings of $4,570 per student over the life of the loan at a 4 year college or university.  Additionally, over 420,000 students could benefit from a $500 increase in the Pell Grant.

The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 also provides significant investments for Historically Black Colleges & Universities; Hispanic Serving Institutions and Minority Serving Institutions.  With the passage of this bill, $500 million will be invested to ensure that minority students not only can have access to enter college, but have the resources to stay in school and graduate.


According to the Congressional Research Service, in the Fall of 2005, there were over 17 million students enrolled in degree granting institutions in the U.S.  30.9% of the 17 million students were minorities.