On March 30, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (H.R. 4872). NASW strongly supported this bill and has tirelessly advocated for the creation of public policies that make health care and higher education more affordable and accessible for all Americans. The higher education provisions are expected to generate significant savings by redirecting lender subsidies to boost Pell Grant scholarships, expand the Income Based Repayment Program, increase the number of students who enter and complete college, including community colleges, and invest over $2 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and minority serving institutions (MSI) to provide students with the support they need to stay in school. The bill passed the House and Senate on March 25 with a Democratic vote of 220-207 and 56 to 43, respectively.
While some colleges and universities have already switched to direct lending, others are racing to switch from private lenders to the U.S. Department of Education by July 1, 2010. The lending overhaul, which would eliminate a program that subsidizes banks and other providers of federally backed loans, is projected to save the federal government $61 billion over 10 years with more than half of the savings channeled to Pell grants for low income students. More than 8 million low income students rely on these grants to fund their education.
For more information about our advocacy efforts to make higher education more affordable go to www.socialworkers.org/loanforgivness
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