WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today introduced an amendment to the Higher Education Access Act that would increase funding for the College Access Partnership Program by $176 million. The amendment, introduced with Senator Ted Kennedy, increases student access to higher education by expanding borrower benefits for students seeking financial aid and invests in programs to assist students and parents in the college application process. “This amendment makes higher education more affordable,” said Senator Murkowski. “By increasing access to financial aid, assisting with the often complicated college application process and educating both parents and students about their financial options we are giving students the support they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.” Senator Murkowski proposes increasing funding to the College Access Partnership Program by $88 million for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. The amendment expands borrower benefits for low income and Pell eligible students and provides assistance for students and families in dealing with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and college applications. In addition the amendment provides professional development for guidance counselors, financial aid administrators and college admissions counselors in order to improve assistance to students. Murkowski’s proposal also funds outreach activities for students at-risk of not enrolling in higher education and provides funding to improve student preparedness for post-secondary entrance examinations.