Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., and George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, visited Howard University recently to announce legislation that will invest $20 billion to soften the blow of college student loans over the next five years.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, H.R. 2669, if approved by President Bush, will widen the availability of Pell Grants, cut loan interest rates by 50 percent and allow loan forgiveness for students who choose public service occupations in such areas as teaching or the military.
“This is the largest increase in federal funding for student loans since the G.I. Bill was passed in 1944,” Pelosi said.
Miller explained that the $20 billion would be collected from banks and lending agencies, not tax dollars.
Miller also asserted that $500 million would be allocated to colleges serving black and Hispanic students.
During the question and answer session, a student asked whether he College Cost Reduction Act would address the steady tuition increases at colleges and universities. “If we continue to see these increases,” Miller responded, “then we will have to re-adjust our plan.”
The response to Pelosi and Miller’s promises seemed to be met with great optimism, but some students say the act is a bit too late for them.
“The bill might be helpful,” said Alycia Holland, a freshman international business major who attended the briefing. “It might take a while for it to actually happen. This will probably be beneficial to future generations, but we won’t be able to take advantage of this.”
When asked about the likelihood of Bush vetoing the Act, Pelosi said if that happens, “we will override that veto.”