Bonamici Stands for Students and Affordable, Accessible Higher Education During Update of Federal Policies
WASHINGTON, DC [12/13/17] — Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), a leader on the Education and the Workforce Committee, stood up against efforts in that committee to roll back federal higher education policies that support low-income students. She also strongly opposed efforts to reduce accountability of unscrupulous for-profit institutions and to remove consumer protections for defrauded students who attended them.
During the 13-hour markup of partisan legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, Bonamici offered many amendments to make higher education more accessible and affordable, and to preserve and enhance consumer protections for individuals with student loans.
“Education is one of the best investments our country can make,” said Bonamici. “This hastily written, partisan bill will make college more expensive for low-income students and working families, undermine consumer protections for student loan borrowers, and put the interests of unscrupulous for-profit institutions ahead of students and working families. I worked my way through community college, which opened doors and created opportunities for me. I want students in Oregon and around the country to have the same chance to succeed and to reach for a better future.”
Bonamici offered the following amendments during the markup of the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act:
- Streamline loan repayment and make all loans eligible for income-driven repayment plans, maintain strong consumer protections to protect vulnerable student loan borrowers from default, and reestablish the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and the Direct Loan program.
- Reinstate the Perkins Loan Program and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and update the Federal Work Study program to better meet the needs of students.
- Restore protections for victims of sexual violence on campus and give students and families accurate information about sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking on college campuses.
- Direct the Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs to make sure the bill will not increase fraud and abuse directed at student veterans.
Additionally, Bonamici spoke in support of amendments by her colleagues to improve provisions in the bill relating to supporting students with disabilities, protecting civil rights, increasing Pell Grant awards, improving apprenticeship programs, addressing the opioid crisis on college campuses, making community college free for qualifying students, supporting foster and homeless youth in college, and protecting Dreamers.
Bonamici is an outspoken advocate for student loan borrowers and has called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to “stop putting the interest of for-profit colleges over interests of students.” Bonamici has introduced stand-alone bills to help struggling student loan borrowers avoid default, assist college-bound students with disabilities, and boost apprenticeships.