Friday, July 21, 2006

Back to School

"In today's increasingly competitive economy, the best guarantee of a good, secure job is a quality education. But not everyone has that opportunity.

I know what it's like to have a tough time affording college: With the help of federal Pell Grants, and a lot of hard work, I was the first in my family to graduate from college.

A college education today costs a small fortune and it's harder than ever to find help. Since 2001, tuition has increased by over 30 percent at the average four year public school. Over the same period, family incomes have increased less than six percent.

As the cost of college continues to rise and family incomes stagnate, more and more students are qualifying for Pell Grants and other federal student aid programs. BUT there's just less money to go around and the Pell Grant award hasn't kept up. IN 1986, the Pell Grant covered 51 percent of the cost of tuition, fees, room and board. In 2004, it covered only 35 percent of those costs. WE can't let a college education become a privilege just for the wealthy.

We must ensure that famiies and students can afford college, regardless of their financial resources. That's why the Democratic Women For Change are challenging this Republican Congress to take a new direction."

They need your help. Join and stand with thousands of Americans who believe that we can get America moving in the right directions. We can hep families and students afford to go to college. The Democratic Women for Change have a checklist for change:

First and foremost, increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,100 - an amount that actually keeps pace with costs.

Second, Congres can act to make the $4,000 College Tuition Tax Deduction permanent. On July 1, the largest interest rate hikes on college loans went into effect. We need this now more than ever: the typical undergraduate student graduates with $17,500 in debt.

Third, we should help families as they save for college. Let's permanently increase the Coverdell Education Savings Account contribution to $5,000, and make it possible for families toput aside enough money to put their kids through school.

Finally, flexibility is critical for non-traditional students returning to school. We ought to give America's servicement and women the opportunity to attend college anytime they choose by making the GI Bill more flexible.

Get involved with the Democratic Women for Change.

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