Following is a statement by Association of American Universities President Mary Sue Coleman on the introduction of the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Higher Education Reform (PROSPER) Act” today by the House Education and Workforce Committee.
Though we are pleased Chairwoman Virginia Foxx’s Higher Education Act reauthorization proposal contains long-overdue plans to simplify the FAFSA, we are deeply troubled by other provisions that would make higher education less accessible and less affordable for low- and middle-income students.
As drafted, the House plan is seriously flawed. It seeks to eliminate subsidized loans, on which nearly six million undergraduate students depend each year. It would eliminate the supplemental education opportunity grant – a program that requires universities to have “skin-in-the-game” by supplementing federal dollars, and is proven to boost completion rates for America’s neediest students. Perhaps most alarming, this plan would get rid of student loan programs that put graduate and professional studies within reach for many, conflicting with our country’s long-term interest of producing highly-skilled and educated talent, particularly in areas of national need.
It is critical that these and other student aid programs remain a national priority to ensure that all Americans can attain the education and skills our 21st Century economy demands. Without this support, many would-be student success stories of tomorrow may never be told.
We are committed to working with Chairwoman Foxx and other members of the Committee as the legislative process continues.
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