Washington, D.C. — Today, David Bergeron, Vice President for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement on the Higher Education Affordability Act, a proposal introduced by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, or HELP, Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA).
The Higher Education Affordability Act, released yesterday by Sen. Harkin, represents a major step forward in expanding access and affordability to quality postsecondary education for all Americans. This proposal makes significant new investments in Pell Grants and creates a federal-state partnership aimed at restoring and increasing investment in public higher education, as CAP has called for in its Public College Quality Compact. It makes student loans more affordable by expanding affordable repayment options, such as Pay As You Earn, and allowing students in distress to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy, adding certainty to the lending process for both borrowers and lenders. This bill improves quality assurance in our higher-education system by making accreditation more transparent and requiring improved oversight by the Department of Education of postsecondary education institutions, particularly those that are organized for profit. Finally, I applaud this bill for strengthening accountability within our higher-education system by creating a unit-record system that will enable policymakers to track the progress and success of all students. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Harkin and the rest of the Senate HELP Committee on this vital legislation.
Anne Johnson, Executive Director of Generation Progress, also issued the following statement:
We applaud Chairman Harkin for his continued effort to make higher education more affordable and accessible for students. The Higher Education Affordability Act is much-needed legislation that will assist current students by making college more affordable and provide support for those with student loans. Given rising college costs and fewer job prospects for those without postsecondary credentials or degrees, the Higher Education Affordability Act would help students and borrowers support themselves and their families.