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House Passes Student Aid Bill!

On September 17, 2009, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 253-171, H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, a massive student aid bill that some experts contend is the single largest investment in higher education in history.

Introduced on July 14, 2009 by Representative Miller (D-CA), H.R. 3221 will generate almost $100 billion in savings by ending lender subsidies to boost Pell Grant scholarships, keep interest rates on federal loans affordable, and will enact President Obama’s key initiative to get more students to enter and complete college.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • $40 billion to expand the Pell grant program which aids low income students
  • $10 billion to help community colleges increase enrollment
  • $8 billion to help states improve early learning programs for children from birth to age five
  • $2 billion for historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions
These investments are paid for by cutting excessive lender subsidies from loan programs and redirecting those funds toward higher education. Similar to what President Obama proposed in his FY 2010 budget, H.R. 3221 will originate all new federal student loans through the Direct Loan program starting in 2010. Even with the controversial plan to eliminate the lender subsidies, the bill is on a fast tract. The Senate is preparing their own version of the bill, and both bills will need to be reconciled before they are sent to the President for his signature.

Thanks for your advocacy which helped us get this important legislation passed in the House. We will continue to update you as it moves through the legislative process.

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