TUCSON, AZ— Today, legislation to address the soaring price of college tuition and strengthen the nation’s higher education programs was signed into law.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 4137) addresses rising college tuition prices, makes textbook costs more manageable, simplifies the federal student aid application process, and provides new borrower protections on federal and private college loans.
“The signing of this important piece of legislation will help America’s college students and their families,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee. “This legislation will provide them with comprehensive information on tuition and textbook prices and key financial protections when paying for a college degree. For students and parents, who continue to face soaring college costs through these rough economic times, these reforms could not come soon enough.”
This bill also includes several provisions drafted by Rep. Grijalva, including establishing a demonstration program and Commission on instructional materials accessibility for college students with print-disabilities and expanding the eligibility requirements for Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants to part-time students and legal permanent residents. Rep. Grijalva also included an amendment to change the cohort default rate (CDR) calculation window for student loans. This would require student loan counseling by lenders, the Department of Education, and colleges on appropriate repayment options for students.
“I am proud to be a part of this legislation,” stated Grijalva. “This bill will add a number of mechanisms to aid students in making these choices, including a provision I worked hard to add that will improve the way cohort default rates are calculated. It will also improve our student aid process, help restore confidence in our student loan programs, and provide more low-income, first-generation students the chance to pursue a college education.”
Over the past two years, Congress has helped make college more affordable and accessible for all qualified students. Congress enacted the single largest increase in federal student aid since the GI Bill and key measures to protect federal college aid from turbulence in the nation’s credit markets.
The Higher Education Act was last reauthorized in 1998. The current law expired in 2003.