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Cornyn votes to strengthen Higher Education Act

Bill approved by Senate July 24 includes Pell Grant increases for college students

From the Office of Senator John Cornyn

August 8, 2007

Government - Senator Cornyn pictureWASHINGTON—With the support of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate today passed S. 1642, which strengthens and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965. Key provisions in this legislation include Pell Grant increases; more information to students and parents about college tuition and fees; simplifying the free application process for Federal Student Aid; and requiring colleges and universities to establish Codes of Conduct for their relationships with lenders.

“Since it was first passed in 1965, this legislation has enabled tens of thousands of Americans to pursue the dream of higher education. It is our responsibility in Congress today to make sure that dream remains within reach for American young people and their families,” Sen. Cornyn said. “This bill takes steps to do that by raising the maximum Pell Grants, streamlining the application process and providing more information to students and parents. It also shines needed light on the lending process to help ensure our institutions of higher learning are protecting their students first and foremost.”

Among other provisions, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 includes:

Raising the maximum Pell Grant from $4,050 for academic year 2007-2008 to $5,400 for academic year 2008-09; $5,700 for academic year 2009-10; $6,000 for academic year 2010-11; and $6,300 for academic year 2011-12.

Requiring colleges to establish codes of conduct for their relationships with lenders; prohibits certain revenue sharing agreements; prohibits financial aid officers from taking gifts from lenders; includes greater privacy protections for borrower financial information; requires universities to have at least three unaffiliated lenders on their preferred lender list, and ensures that “benefits to students” are the basis for lenders being placed on their preferred lender list.

Requiring lenders and guaranty agencies to: provide additional financial literacy services; provide additional information on interest rate reductions and repayment options; control the information reported to credit bureaus; and expand assistance to reduce loan default. Provides additional benefits to those living on military bases; provides more loan discharge options for disabled borrowers; expands work-study allowance for books/supplies; and expands the occupations eligible for Perkins loan cancellation.

Authorizing grants for teacher preparation and residency programs; alternative routes to teacher certification; and a state report card on the quality of teacher preparation.

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

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