MURKOWSKI JOINS COLLEAGUES IN ADVANCING HIGHER EDUCATION ACT
LEGISLATION PROVIDES ASSISTANCE FOR MILITARY STUDENTS AND ALASKA NATIVES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today joined with other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in advancing out of committee the Higher Education Access Act of 2007 and the Higher Education Amendments of 2007. The legislation increases students’ access to higher education and federal funding, authorizes the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program and helps military students access Pell Grants and loans by allowing them to deduct the value of housing when calculating a need analysis.
“This legislation makes higher education more affordable and accessible for students,” said Senator Murkowski. “Financial aid has not kept pace with the rising cost of college. By increasing the maximum dollar amounts of Pell Grants, making it easier to obtain federal aid and providing protection from unmanageable loan payments, we are giving more potential students access to an increasingly expensive endeavor.”
The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program guides students professionally and educationally through high school and college with a long term program including mentoring, academic support, group activities, scholarships and internships. The legislation also removes potential conflicts of interest between universities and lenders, simplifies the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid by reducing it from seven to two pages, allows for better planning through earlier determination of student aid and increases the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100 immediately and $5,400 by 2011.