Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) praised the unveiling of the College Affordability Act, a comprehensive bill that will lower the cost of college for Rhode Island students while improving the quality of higher education across the nation. The bill, which was introduced by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert Scott (D-VA), is part of House Democrats' commitment to addressing the more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt owed by more than 44 million borrowers.
"Too many students are leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt," said Congressman Langevin. "The College Affordability Act will overhaul our higher education system so students can spend less to earn a quality degree. It will provide much-needed relief to families saddled with debt today, and it will crack down on predatory for-profit colleges that are taking advantage of students across the country."
The College Affordability Act includes two education bills that Langevin introduced earlier this year. The Reaching English Learners will strengthen English learner (EL) teacher preparation programs to help improve instruction for the one in ten public school students whose native language is not English. Domenic and Ed's Lawnamed after one of Langevin's constituents, will discharge loans that parents take out on their child's behalf if the student becomes totally and permanently disabled.
"As the number of English learners in Rhode Island and across the country continues to grow, we desperately need to address the shortage of teachers for these students," continued Langevin. "I'm pleased that the College Affordability Act includes the Reaching English Learners Act, my bipartisan bill to ensure English learners get a world-class education like every other student. I'm also thrilled that Chairman Scott is supporting my bill to forgive Parent PLUS Loans when a student becomes disabled. Domenic and Ed's Law will fix a loophole in current law that prevents loans taken out by parents from being discharged when a student becomes disabled, unlike other federal student loans. No parent should continue to be burdened with debt when disaster strikes."
In addition to the provisions introduced by Langevin, the College Affordability Act:
Tackles the rising cost of tuition by restoring state and federal investments in public colleges and universities, which will reduce the burden that has been shifted to students and their families.
Eases the burden of student loans by making existing student loans cheaper and easier to pay off.
Makes college affordable for low- and middle-income students by increasing the value of Pell Grants and indexing them to inflation.
Cracks down on predatory for-profit colleges that defraud students, veterans, and taxpayers.