“A college education is increasingly vital for the United States to compete in a global economy and to help give more opportunity to Americans to improve their financial security.
“The College Cost Reduction Act helps increase access to higher education by making college more affordable. The bill provides $20 billion in new student aid, including substantial increases in funding for Pell Grants for low-income students. The bill also reduces the interest rate on subsidized student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent and makes other changes to the student loan system to help students pay for college.
“College costs continue to escalate as family income and student aid has not kept up. Between 2000 and 2006, the average cost of attending a public college in Pennsylvania has increased 39% and the average cost of attending a private school has increased 29%.
“The legislation will increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500 next year to $4,800 and will rise to $5,400 by 2012. This means Pennsylvania students will be eligible for an additional $69,685,000 in need-based grants next year and a total of $756,596,000 over the next five years.”