Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mitch McConnell Votes Against Making College More Affordable For Kentucky Families

(As reported by Media Czech at Bluegrass Roots--original link to his post at the bottom of the page)

McConnell Votes Against Making College More Affordable For Kentucky Families
Matthew Miller, DSCC

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell today voted against the bi-partisan College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, a bill which will benefit tens of thousands of Kentucky students and families and make the single largest investment in student aid since the GI Bill.

"As the cost of college continues to rise and more and more Kentuckians feel the pinch, Mitch McConnell has turned a deaf ear to the need to make college more affordable," DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. "Kentuckians want a leader who will work for their children's education, not one who stands in the way of it."

The bi-partisan legislation passed 79-12.

Today, McConnell Rejected Largest Single Student Aid Investment Since GI Bill. The bill McConnell voted against this morning - which passed 79-12 with overwhelmingly bipartisan support - will cut roughly $20 billion from lender subsidies and use the funds to beef up aid to college students and cut interest rates on subsidized loans in half. It also includes a $1,090 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award and debt forgiveness after ten years for certain public-sector employees. "This bill will do more to help students and families in this country pay for college than any effort since the GI Bill," said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller. [Vote 326, 9/7/07; CQ Today, 9/6/07; Wall Street Journal, 9/6/07; HELP Press Release, 9/5/07]

New Student Aid Bill Will Benefit Tens of Thousands of Kentucky Students and Families. In the 2005-06 school year, nearly 80,000 Kentucky students received federal Pell grants. Still, though, more than half of Kentucky's college seniors graduate with debt. [HELP Committee, September 2007; US Department of Education, 2005-2006 Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report]

Debt Forgiveness Program Will Be a Huge Benefit for KY Nurses, Teachers and Law Enforcement Officials. Under the bill McConnell opposed today, a starting teacher in Kentucky earning $30,619 with the state average loan debt of $15,861 could have loan payments capped at 15% - reducing his or her monthly payments by 29%. After 10 years of teaching, all remaining debt would be forgiven - in this case, a benefit worth $9,049. [HELP Committee, September 2007]

McConnell Cast Critical Vote for Largest Student Loan Cuts in History. McConnell voted for the final version of the 2005 budget reconciliation bill, which cut $12.7 million from college loans, the largest cuts to the student loan program in its history. The measure was approved 50-50 with the Vice President voting to break the tie. [Vote 363, 12/21/05; AP, 12/19/05; Washington Post, 12/19/05]

This Is McConnell's Fifth Vote Against Raising Pell Grants In Just Four Years. From 2004 through 2006, McConnell voted at least four times against raising maximum Pell grant awards. [Vote 39, 3/14/06; Vote 268, 10/25/05; Vote 68, 3/17/05; Vote 51, 3/11/04]

For the Full Hyperlinked Report

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