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College Cost Reduction and Access Act Officially an Act

September 28, 2007

by Paulina Mis

After an anxious wait on the part of students and lenders, President Bush finally signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act into law. And you know this is big if MTV reported on the bill even though partying at club Les Deux wasn’t involved.

According to the new law, the maximum Pell Grant offered to students will increase while the subsidies the government offers student lenders will decrease. This is the biggest boost in student aid since the GI Bill for veterans---and a fresh change from the 2005 $12 billion financial aid cut.

Among those who will benefit are needy students eligible for government grants and those who borrow from the government. Currently, students are eligible to receive a maximum $4,310 Pell Grant each year. This number will increase gradually, reaching a high of $5,400 by 2012.

Under the act, new subsidized Stafford loan interest rates will also be cut. A low point of 3.4 percent will be available to students who borrow between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012. Unfortunately, students will have to wait until 2008 to take advantage of this change. Until then, they are stuck with the current fixed 6.8 percent loan interest rate.

Students who plan to teach in low-income neighborhoods after graduating may also benefit. Future teachers may receive a $4,000 TEACH Grant for each year they attend school (up to $16,000 for undergraduates and $8,000 for graduates), but a pretty detailed list of additional eligibility criteria must also be met.

The bill was largely a result of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigation into illegal actions within the $85 billion student loan industry. The investigation revealed that numerous financial aid administrators, including one from the Department of Education, received financial incentives from lenders who hoped to improve their standing with schools.

Some of the financial aid changes outlined in the act were previously considered, but Cuomo’s investigation provided much-needed impetus. Although Bush had initially threatened to veto the bill, he agreed to sign once recommended changes were made. In a White House photo, the president is shown signing the bill with four smiling college students, three smiling congressmen and a smiling Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings looking over his shoulder. A sign that read, “Making College More Affordable” hung from his desk.


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3 Comment(s)

Tammie M on 1/20/2008 10:58:15 PM

I have been a nurse for 10 years and I am a single mother, raising 3 children. I do not qualify for financial aid grant due to I have already obtained a BSN. The interest on these loans are so high and I will spend the rest of my life paying them back. Is this fair. I just trying to receive more education to create a better life for my children and myself. I think this is the reason why many adults do not return back to college because paying back a mortgage loan and car loan, a student loan can be devasating and discouraging. Times are getting too difficult to be paying back such high loans, when the job I will possible get will not pay a strong, solid salary. I feel that the loan providers should take in consideration all the other tribes and tribulations a family is enduring while trying to go to college and meet the demands of a family and a home. Thanks alot President Bush.

Fomen E on 12/5/2007 8:40:45 AM

I am a Cameroonian agded 18. I am currently a student at the University of Buea and I am studying Mathematics. I wish to apply for the scholarship for I intend to do Information technology. While waiting for your reply

joel e on 12/5/2007 7:21:13 AM

Pls.Help me to avial from this program

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