Today, in the auditorium of North Virginia Community College, President Barack Obama, joined by over fifty USSA members, signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872) into law. This legislation includes the historic student aid reform proposal originally passed by the House of Representatives via the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The law appropriates over sixty billion dollars towards increases funding for the Pell grant, community colleges, Minority-Serving Institutions, and access and completion programs. The increases are made possible through the elimination of wasteful government subsidies to private lenders that issue federal student loans.
“Today, students across the country were able to see their amazing direct-action organizing payoff with comprehensive student aid reform becoming the law of the land,” said United States Student Association (USSA) President Gregory Cendana. “We thank President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Education and Labor Committee Chair Congressman George Miller, and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Senator Tom Harkin, along with all the higher education champions who stood with students instead of banks in this fight for student aid reform.”
While students celebrate this victory, our work is not over, as young people will continue fighting for policies that increase college access and affordability. USSA is currently working to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship and college access for undocumented youth, along with a pro-student federal budget that includes increase funding for college access, affordability, and completion programs.