***VIDEO FILE INCLUDED*** Rep. Susie Lee Helps Pass Landmark College Affordability Act Through Committee
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03), a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, helped the College Affordability Act (CAA), the comprehensive and landmark legislation to reform America’s higher education system, pass through the committee.
Rep. Lee sponsored four vital bills, which have provisions included in the College Affordability Act. Those bills are the Preventing Risky Operations from Threatening the Education and Career Trajectories (PROTECT) Students Act, Pell Grant Sustainability Act, Protecting Undergraduates with Board Limitations from Influence and Conflicts Act, and Protecting Access to Student Transcripts Act.
Below are Rep Lee’s remarks to the committee, as prepared for delivery, in support of the College Affordability Act:
“Before I came to Congress, I had the privilege of working with some of our nation's most disadvantaged children. I collaborated with all sorts of stakeholders to improve our students' opportunities for academic success by providing strong wrap-around services.
“Everyone has a different academic journey.
“For me, Pell grants, work study programs, and working my way through college were enough to help me shoulder the financial burden of school. But today, tuition, books, cost-of-living, transportation, childcare and everything else is so expensive, it's almost impossible not to come out of college underwater. And that’s why we’re here today considering a bill that has been appropriately titled the College Affordability Act.
“This bill makes the necessary investments to tackle the soaring cost of tuition and, by extension, the overwhelming amounts of student debt that our nation’s students are taking on. I’m especially proud of the fact that this bill provides the largest-ever increase in the value of Pell grants since they were established. The bill also achieves a critical goal of making it easier for students to understand their future loan obligations. Not only that, the bill makes important changes to improve the administration of the Public Service Loan forgiveness program and allows for adjunct faculty teaching a minimum of two courses to be eligible for the PSLF program.
“We have done great work here to improve transparency and accountability, specifically by holding predatory for-profit colleges to task for defrauding students—including many student Veterans. Through this bill we provide greater scrutiny within the accreditation process by emphasizing the role that student outcomes should play in determining whether certain schools meet the standards to access federal student aid. Last but not least, the bill introduces parameters to reduce the conflicts of interest on accreditor decision-making boards.
“So as we sit here to review the merits of this legislation, I remind everyone that we need to make serious and transformative updates to our Higher Education System. This bill does just that.”
BACKGROUND: Details on Rep. Lee’s four bills that are included as provisions in the College Affordability Act are below:
- Preventing Risky Operations from Threatening the Education and Career Trajectories (PROTECT) Students Act – Protects students from predatory higher education institutions that take advantage of students—including veterans—by using fraudulent and misleading practices that leave students saddled with debt and an often unsatisfactory and incomplete education.
- Pell Grant Sustainability Act – Indexes the Pell Grants with inflation, ensuring that the value of Pell Grants does not decrease as inflation rises—as it has in recent years.
- Protecting Undergraduates with Board Limitations from Influence and Conflicts Act – Prevents conflicts of interest on higher education accreditation boards.
- Protecting Access to Student Transcripts Act – Prevents higher education institutions from withholding transcripts from students who have defaulted on their student loans.
A CAA fact sheet can be found here.
CAA provisions aimed at tackling student loan debt can be found here.
The full text of the CAA can be read here.