Murray Helps Pass Higher Education Reform Bill that Makes College More Affordable and Reduces Student Debt Payments

Jul 20 2007

Murray declares legislation a "major victory" for Washington state students and working families

Listen to Senator Murray's Remarks

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on Senate passage of the Higher Education Access Act of 2007.  The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 78-18.

"Today we achieved a major victory in the fight to help more students afford and attend college. The Higher Education Access Act will raise the number of Pell Grants, keep loan payments reasonable for graduates, assist military service members, and help homeless and foster students attend college.

"In recent years, the deck has become increasingly stacked against students who want to get a college education in Washington state and across the country. College has become more expensive while the Pell grant has remained stagnant, and on top of that, some large lenders have taken advantage of students. This means that those students who are able to attend college are often graduating saddled with debt - unable to buy a car or a house. Today we have passed legislation that works to end this crippling trend.

"The legislation passed today raises the maximum Pell Grant by 25 percent over four years to $5,400 per student. This will make nearly $40 million in need-based grants available for Washington state students next year alone.

"The bill also ensures that college graduates are not burdened with high loan payments by guaranteeing that borrowers will not have to pay more than 15 percent of their monthly income in student loan payments.  This will bring immediate relief to students who are burdened with excessive loans.

"If we want our economy to grow, our people to succeed, and our country to be strong, we have to help more students get a college education. Through increased federal aid and sensible limits on debt payments, this bill does just that."