Capps Condemns Republicans' Inadequate Higher Education Act

Date: March 30, 2006
Location: Washington

Capps Condemns Republicans' Inadequate Higher Education Act

Votes against misguided Republican bill; supports sensible Democratic alternative

Congresswoman Capps voted today against the Republicans' deeply flawed Higher Education Act, H.R. 609. The legislation reauthorized the Higher Education Act for five years, the first major overhaul of postsecondary education policy since 1998. But Capps cited concerns about the legislation's failure to make a college education more affordable, particularly for low and middle income families. The following is the Congresswoman's statement on HR 609:

"Just two months ago the Republican Congress voted to drastically cut education funding with a bill cutting $12 billion in student assistance programs, the largest raid on student aid in history. That bill also raised interest rates on parent borrowers, increased loan consolidation fees, and added a 1% insurance fee on college loans.

"Today's bill, HR 609, represents a missed opportunity to encourage students seeking post-secondary education. This legislation failed to make amends for the previous harmful cuts to student financial aid and fee increases, and does little to make college more affordable for Central Coast families.

"My Democratic colleagues offered an alternative to these misguided Republican policies. Our substitute would have cut interest rates in half for borrowers with the greatest need, lowering the cost of college by $2.4 billion for our nation's students and families. The Democratic legislation also contained several provisions to encourage minority students to pursue higher education opportunities. Unfortunately, this alternative bill failed to pass, having received only limited support from Congressional Republicans. It is troubling that my Republican colleagues failed to recognize the importance of investing in our country's future by making a college education more accessible for our students and their families."

"These deep cuts to student financial aid programs and increased fees for student loans come at a time when post-secondary education is vital for America to remain competitive in the global economy. Our students and their families recognize the importance of getting a college degree, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to afford the high cost of a college education. Sadly, today's legislation failed to address the needs of families struggling to ensure that their children will have the opportunity to go college."