Bonamici Plays Key Role in Plan to Improve Student Loan System, Increase Higher Education Affordability and Access
WASHINGTON, DC [7/24/18] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), a leader on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, joined her colleagues in announcing the rollout of legislation that would provide every student with a path to a debt-free higher education.
The Aim Higher Act, which is a comprehensive reauthorization of the longstanding Higher Education Act, includes three provisions that were crafted by Bonamici to make higher education more accessible and affordable and student loans easier to repay. Her contributions also maintain consumer protections for student loan borrowers.
“I worked my way through community college, college, and law school, so I know how important the Federal Work Study program is to helping students gain valuable work experience,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “And with many people struggling to repay their student debt, we must reform the student loan system to make payments affordable and reduce defaults. The Aim Higher Act would increase access, affordability, and completion rates and provide a clear path for all students to obtain a higher education regardless of their backgrounds.”
Bonamici’s contributions to the Aim Higher Act accomplish the following:
- Updating the Federal Work Study program to better meet the needs of students
- Doubles the allocation for the Federal Work Study (FWS) Program.
- Preserves graduate student participation in FWS.
- Makes changes to the FWS formula to allocate funds based on the number of low-income students at an institution and the unmet need of students.
- Provides a bonus allocation for institutions serving and graduating low-income students.
- Improving the student loan system
- Helps student loan borrowers automatically enroll in affordable repayment plans.
- Automates the annual process of updating borrowers’ income information while enrolled in income-driven repayment plans.
- Removes burdensome paperwork requirements for borrowers who are totally and permanently disabled.
- Protecting consumers
- Recognizes state authority to protect consumers by maintaining their right to enact, regulate, and enforce consumer protection laws.
These provisions are from Bonamici’s Opportunities for Success Act, the SIMPLE Act, and an amendment offered during the PROSPER Act markup. Bonamici is a powerful advocate for students and has fought efforts to roll back the federal higher education policies that are in place to protect students. She is a vocal critic of the PROSPER Act, which would make obtaining a higher education more expensive for students by cutting $15 billion from federal student aid.