March 11, 2009
President Obama yesterday clarified some point on his higher education plan in a speech before the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative conference.
Given that this is a student loan blog, I got a chuckle out of his comment that it currently requires a PhD to figure out student loan aid – and I”m sure many of you would agree! The process most definitely needs simplification.
Read an excerpt of the president’s comments below:
“The fifth part of America’s education strategy is providing every American with a quality higher education – whether it’s college or technical training. Never has a college degree been more important. And never has it been more expensive. At a time when so many of our families are bearing enormous economic burdens, the rising cost of tuition threatens to shatter dreams. That is why will simplify federal college assistance forms so it doesn’t take a PhD to apply for financial aid. And that is why we are already taking steps to make college or technical training affordable.
For the first time ever, Pell Grants will not be subject to the politics of the moment or the whims of the market – they will be a commitment that Congress is required to uphold each and every year. Further, because rising costs mean Pell Grants cover less than half as much tuition as they did thirty years ago, we are raising the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 a year and indexing it above inflation. We are also providing a $2,500 a year tuition tax credit for students from working families. And we are modernizing and expanding the Perkins Loan Program to make sure schools like UNLV don’t get a tenth as many Perkins Loans as schools like Harvard. To help pay for all of this, we are putting students ahead of lenders by eliminating wasteful student loan subsidies that cost taxpayers billions each year. All in all, we are making college affordable for seven million more students with a sweeping investment in our children’s futures and America’s success. And I call on Congress to join me – and the American people – by helping make these investments possible.”
You can read the complete text of his address at the Wall Street Journal’s blog, Washington Wire.
February 2, 2009
Last week the House of Representatives passed the economic stimulus bill. In their version, the Pell grant would increase and the Stafford loan borrowing limits would increase by $2000 per year.
The Senate is set to vote on the bill next week. In the meantime, they’re reconciling their version of the bill which does not have the Stafford Loan increases.
Opponents say the increases will lead colleges to raise tuition even further; proponents say that higher federal loan limits would lower the amount of private loans taken out for college.