Sep 17, 2009

U.S. House Passes Historic Student Aid Reform Bill

Today is a historic day for higher education as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), H.R. 3221. The U.S. Student Association, along with students and families nationwide, are ecstatic about this landmark bill and its capacity to help millions of current and potential college students achieve an affordable and quality higher education. This legislation includes the greatest investments in higher education in American history.

SAFRA reforms the student loan industry by eliminating federal subsidies to private banks and investing the near one hundred billion dollars in savings into need-based aid programs. These investments in higher education surpass even the renowned G.I. Bill and Higher Education Act.

“On behalf of the USSA’s 4.5 million student members at over 400 campuses, we thank Members of the House of Representatives for their diligent work on passing SAFRA,” said USSA President Gregory Cendana. “Students today are taking on insurmountable amounts of debt to pay for college, essentially mortgaging their futures with convoluted loan plans from private banks. SAFRA will reform this broken system by increasing federal, need-based aid that will help bring President Obama’s goal to lead the world in college graduations to fruition.”

Additionally, SAFRA invests 2.55 billion dollars in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions. “Increased funding for Minority Serving Institutions through this bill is a direct investment in communities traditionally barred from higher education and ensures greater access to the American dream,” said USSA People of African Decent caucus chair Getachew Kassa, a student at the University of Oregon.

The Senate is expected to take up its version of the student aid reform bill later this month. USSA students and staff will be organizing on campuses across the country to support the Senate bill and ensure that the crucial reforms in SAFRA reach President Obama’s desk by the end of the year.

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