As the cost of college outstrips the ability of families to pay, too many students are forced to take on high loan debt burdens. Rep. Eshoo believes every student deserves the opportunity for an affordable education, allowing them to compete in the competitive job market and fulfill their potential.
It’s clear that a college degree will be a requisite for the majority of new jobs in the next decade and it’s why making sure higher education remains an opportunity for every student, not just the privileged few, is an economic imperative for our nation. Congress should take meaningful action to make sure that college is within reach for all Americans, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of the College for All Act of 2017, which would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for households making up to $125,000 per year, while eliminating tuition and fees for community college for everyone.
Rep. Eshoo has also been a strong supporter of Pell Grants, the cornerstone of our nation’s student financial aid program that provides aid to more than 8.4 million low income American students who otherwise would be unable to obtain a higher education. In March Rep. Eshoo joined more than 50 of her House colleagues in writing to the House Appropriations Committee requesting full funding for the Federal Pell Grant Program in Fiscal Year 2018.
Rep. Eshoo is also a cosponsor of the Expand American Educational Opportunity Act, which strengthens the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help students pay for college by increasing the portion of the credit that is refundable and making it work better for students who also receive Pell Grants. This tax credit has helped millions of students and working families pay for college since it was first enacted by Congress in 2009.
Student Loan Debt
Higher education should be a path to shared prosperity, not a path to suffocating debt. Currently over 44 million Americans owe a combined $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.
To help individuals better manage their student loans, Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of Student Loan Interest Deduction Act of 2017, which would double the current tax deduction for student loan interest and eliminate income phase-outs that prevent individuals who live in high-cost areas from claiming the student loan interest deduction.
Rep. Eshoo is also a cosponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow student loan borrowers to refinance their outstanding student loans at a lower interest rate, putting more disposable income back into the pockets of individuals with student loan debt.
The economic downturn has required more people to learn new, marketable skills in order to be competitive in the workforce. Much of the training and education for new skills comes from our nation’s network of community colleges. Unfortunately, just when their resources and availability have become more important than ever, many community colleges are struggling financially. Unlike private colleges and universities and larger public schools, community colleges rely almost exclusively on state funding at a time when state tax revenues are falling and budgets have been slashed. Without financial assistance to hire and retain faculty and staff and maintain facilities, community colleges are unable to fulfill their critical educational mission.
Rep. Eshoo supports continued investment in our nation’s community colleges and believes they are critical to our nation’s future economic prosperity.