Tuesday, September 15, 2009

J1: Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

This is a letter from the Office of The President, Yes the president of the United States :).

It basically shows the different sections and goals of the act. If you could cover this with more detail, perhaps people's opinion (survey students, interview Poli Sci professor?)

Cover it briefly with bullets, or fully. This is in your own hands :)




September 15, 2009

(House Rules)


H.R. 3221 — Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

(Rep. Miller, D-California, and 41 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal

Responsibility Act of 2009. The Administration is pleased that the bill will make key investments

in college affordability and education reform, eliminate wasteful subsidies to financial institutions,

and save taxpayers money. The bill takes critical steps toward achieving the President’s goal of

restoring the United States to first in the world in college completion by 2020.

The Administration supports the bill’s reforms that would stabilize student loan programs using

proven, private-sector practices. Federally guaranteed student loans provide banks and other

lenders with large profits that are set by the legislative process. Under H.R. 3221, the use of the

Direct Loan program would eliminate this process and serve students with essentially the same

terms and conditions, but at much lower cost for taxpayers. Students and taxpayers would no

longer be subjected to uncertainty when there is turmoil in the financial markets. The Direct Loan

program would use lower-cost Federal capital, and the Department of Education would hire

nonprofits and private companies, selected through a competitive contracting process, to provide

the best services for students at the lowest cost for taxpayers. For the sake of taxpayers as well as

students, entities providing student loan services should be selected based on performance and


The Administration is pleased that H.R. 3221 would use the savings from these reforms to make

key investments in providing Americans the skills they need to compete for 21st century jobs. The

Administration strongly supports the bill’s provision of additional funding that would support

growth in the Pell Grant program, the cornerstone of the Nation’s efforts to make sure that all

Americans can afford college. The Administration supports the bill’s simplification of the Free

Application for Federal Student Aid, eliminating unnecessary questions that act as obstacles for

aspiring college students. The Administration is also pleased that the bill would establish a new

College Access and Completion Innovation Fund to develop, implement, and evaluate new

approaches to improving college success and completion, particularly for students from

disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Administration strongly supports the bill’s inclusion of the President’s American Graduation

Initiative to usher in new innovations and reforms for our Nation’s community colleges.

H.R. 3221 would support the President’s call for an additional five million community college

graduates, including students who earn or go on to earn degrees, certificates, or industry-

recognized credentials, by 2020 by funding innovative strategies for building partnerships with

employers and the workforce investment system, reforming developmental education, linking

community colleges and high schools, and providing students with personalized academic and

counseling services. The bill also would provide $2.5 billion in grants to leverage private-sector


financing for an estimated total of $10 billion in investments to modernize community college

facilities so that they meet employer and student needs. The bill also would include funding for

the development and dissemination of high-quality, freely available online training and courses.

The Administration also strongly supports H.R. 3221’s creation of the President’s proposed Early

Learning Challenge Fund. Empirical studies have shown that investing in high-quality early

learning provides several dollars in return for every dollar invested. Unfortunately, the quality of

early learning settings varies greatly and, despite some progress, early learning programs are held

to inconsistent standards. Reforms geared toward strengthening quality and improving educational

outcomes across all settings are critically needed. This program would challenge States to develop

model systems of early learning, which incorporate a statewide infrastructure of integrated early

learning support and services for children from birth through age five. In order to compete for an

award under this program, States would commit to reforming essential components of their early

learning system, including establishing a high standard of quality across programs; increasing

participation of disadvantaged children in comprehensive, high-quality early learning programs;

focusing new and existing programs on improving child learning and outcomes; and creating

program rating, monitoring, and professional development systems so that more children are

prepared to succeed in kindergarten.

The bill also includes an expanded and modernized Federal Perkins Loan Program that can help to

reduce students’ need for private and other non-Federal loans that often carry high interest rates

and lack consumer protections. The amended Perkins Loan Program would retain a low interest

rate while allowing financial aid officers at colleges across the country the flexibility to provide

additional assistance to those students who need extra funds to complete their education.

As this bill continues through the legislative process, the Administration would welcome

improvements. In addition to the critical support for Pell Grants already in the bill, the

Administration would support further measures to strengthen the Pell Grant program. Loan

servicing provisions should be refined to minimize unnecessary costs. The Administration asks

the Congress to strengthen accountability and transparency for institutions voluntarily choosing to

participate in the College Access and Completion Innovation Fund, and to increase the share of the

Fund set aside for evaluation. Finally, the Administration urges the Congress to provide the full

$10 billion requested for the Early Learning Challenge Fund, and $12 billion for the American

Graduation Initiative for community colleges.

The Administration commends the Congress for its commitment to making education a national

priority. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to strengthen

this vital legislation.

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