Education Committee to Hold Hearing on Making Higher Education More Affordable
Washington, D.C. – More than 50 years have passed since the enactment of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and the nation’s college and university campuses are indisputably more diverse than ever. What hasn’t changed, however, is that access to post-secondary education opportunities continues to elude many low-income students and students of color, in large part because of cost.
On Wednesday, March 13, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Cost of College: Student-Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach.” In addition to hearing from educators, financial aid experts, and a current student, lawmakers will explore college affordability issues, from tuition to books, and various federal student loan programs.
“How bitterly ironic it is that this hearing will take place the day after news broke about ‘Operation Varsity Blues,’ a national scandal in which wealthy parents, college coaches, and college prep officials conspired to get students into prestigious colleges,” said Congresswoman Wilson, who has served on the Education and Labor Committee throughout her tenure in Congress. “It underscores how much of a have-and-have-not nation we have become and how enormously unfair it is that the main thing keeping genuinely talented students out of college is money.”
Like the rising cost of living that has prevented millions of hard-working Americans from achieving middle-class goals, the soaring cost of college tuitions is forcing countless young people and working adults from enrolling in college and/or ultimately earning a degree. According to Forbes magazine, “student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt category” and has reached a crisis level for borrowers in all demographics and age groups.
Congresswoman Wilson has introduced and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that aim to ease this burden. The Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights, for example, is a measure that would establish basic consumer protections, such as reasonable and flexible repayment options, access to earned credentials and effective loan cancellation in exchange for public service.
“Earning a college degree is not the only path to success, but it is often the surest,” the Florida lawmaker said. “I am committed to working with my fellow committee members to make access to higher education opportunities more affordable for all students, but especially for those who can’t afford to even dream about attending college because of cost.”