FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 27, 2007
UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND HAILS PASSAGE OF COLLEGE COST REDUCTION AND ACCESS ACT
Fairfax, Va. — SUMMARY OF CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
Following Congressional passage by an overwhelming majority, President Bush has today signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act into law. The United Negro College Fund was a leader in the broad-based coalition that supported the bill from introduction through final passage.
This measure will represent the single largest investment in higher education since the 1944 GI Bill, and will avoid additional taxes through savings resulting from the reduction of federal subsidies to lenders in the commercial student loan industry.
The bill's highlights include:
STATEMENT OF DR. MICHAEL L. LOMAX, PRESIDENT AND CEO,
UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND
- Increasing the federal investment in historically black colleges and universities by a total of $170 million over two years.
- Increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by 25 percent over five years, from today’s maximum of $4,310 to $5,400 by 2012.
- Protecting low- and moderate-income student loan borrowers by guaranteeing that their loan payments will not exceed 15 percent of their discretionary income, and by forgiving loans to borrowers with economic hardship after 25 years.
- Reducing interest rates on student loans for more than 5 million low- and middle-income student borrowers receiving subsidized Stafford loans.
At a time when a college degree is a prerequisite to launching almost every good career, the increasing cost of attending college has made it difficult or impossible for students from low- and moderate-income families to get the education they need and deserve. The Act's 25 percent increase in Pell Grants and tying student loan repayment to income level will be important steps in opening college doors to the young men and women who are our future scientists, teachers and doctors.
The $170 million increased investment in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like those that belong to UNCF is not only a vote of public confidence in these historic institutions, but an investment in the important role they have to play in educating the next generation of leaders and in the competitiveness of the American economy.
President Bush has signed this important bill into law. In doing so, colleges, students and, ultimately, the entire country can begin to realize the return on this critical investment.
As the nation's oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization, the United Negro College Fund's mission is to provide financial support to its 39 member institutions, increase minority degree attainment by reducing financial barriers to college, and serve as a national advocate for HBCUs and minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 25 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship programs, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 65,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. ###