Representative Donna Shalala Announces Introduction of the College Affordability Act

Rep. Shalala updates Florida’s 27th on her first month in Congress
Donna E. Shalala

Landmark legislation would be a comprehensive overhaul of America’s higher education system

Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) joined Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and her Democratic colleagues in introducing the College Affordability Act (CAA),  a landmark HEA reauthorization bill that if signed into law would revamp America’s higher education system and immediately lower the cost of college for millions of students and their families at a fraction of the cost of the GOP tax cut.

“It is high time that we reform the cost and accessibility of higher education in America,” said Rep. Shalala. “We have seen the the cost of higher education increase nearly eight time faster than wages over the last few decades. The cost of getting a college degree has not only limited the social mobility of working and middle-class families, it has also stifled the American dream. I firmly believe that if you study hard and apply yourself, a college education should not be only be accessible, but affordable – that is why I am proud to work with my fellow committee Members in introducing this legislation.”

“This proposal immediately cuts the cost of college for students and families and provides relief for existing borrowers. At the same time, it improves the quality of education by holding schools accountable for their students’ success and it meets students’ individual needs by expanding access to more flexible college options and stronger support – helping students graduate on time and move into the workforce.” said Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03)

The College Affordability Act would:

  • Increase the value of Pell Grants to cover a larger share of tuition and put more money in students’ pockets to pay for food, housing, and other essentials.
  • Create a federal-state partnership to drive states to reinvest in their public colleges and universities.
  • Increase funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority Serving Institutions.
  • Provide relief to the 44 million Americans with student loans by giving existing borrowers access to more generous repayment plans and lower interest rates.
  • Streamline the burdensome process for taking out and paying off student loans by simplifying the FAFSA application.
  • Crack down on predatory for-profit colleges that leave students with exorbitant debt and worthless degrees.
  • Block Secretary DeVos’s survivor-blaming Title IX rule and implement stronger accountability measures to track and prevent cases of sexual assault, harassment, and hazing.
  • Improve and expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program to keep the promises made to students who were wrongly denied loan forgiveness.

Various initiatives and bills introduced by Representative Shalala – the former head of three colleges and universities – during the 116th Congress are included in the College Affordability Act, including provisions to:

  • Close the GI Bill Loophole and lower the 90/10 metric to ensure predatory for-profit colleges are not fully funded by the government or take advantage of our brave veterans.
  • Codify the Student Aid Enforcement Unit at the Department of Education responsible for reviewing and investigating violations of federal student aid at institutions.
  • Ensure career programs don’t leave graduates with unsurmountable debt by codifying the Obama Administration’s gainful employment rule.
  • Prevent the sudden closure of colleges by requiring accreditors to take more proactive measures in reviewing teach-out plans and other agreements.

Find CAA Bill Text HERE

Find CAA Fact Sheet HERE

Find CAA Title-By-Title HERE

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