Jan 152015
 

Between the time of birth and age three, research shows that a child’s brain doubles in size. High quality childcare can promote the mental development of children and their later success in school. These programs, including some with medical care, are credited with improving the reading, mathematics, language and social skills of those children enrolled. Quality preschool programs also help narrow the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged children and their peers. Studies show that each dollar spent today on quality preschool programs will return seven dollars to society in the future. The demand for quality early education is growing as more mothers join the workforce. However, there is a drastic shortage of affordable quality preschool programs that are available to many working families. Recent surveys have found that only about half of our 3 and 4 year old children are now enrolled in some type of preschool program. Education advocates say the quality of early childhood education is primarily related to low child-to-staff ratios, staff education, experience, salaries and specialized training.

Pending Legislations:

S.519 & H.R.1041 – PRE-K Act

I oppose reforming current early childhood education policy and wish to defeat S.519 & H.R.1041

I support awarding matching grants to states to enhance or improve state-funded preschool programs that have curricula aligned with state early learning standards; using nationally-established or best practices for class size and teacher-to-student ratios; requiring each teacher to have at least an associate degree in early childhood education or a related field, and baccalaureate degree within 5 years; requiring such programs to operate for at least a full academic year, and wish to pass S.519 & H.R.1041

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Education advocates say a college education is important because the gap in income is widening between those with a college degree and those without one. In 2002, a college graduate could, over a lifetime, expect to earn 75% more than a person without a degree. That differential is 84% today. The availability of federal aid determines whether many students can attend schools of higher education. In 2011, the average undergraduate student costs for tuition, room and board at most public universities was about $16,000, while these costs at most private universities were about $33,000. Tuition has increased at a rate of about 6% each year for the past decade, or nearly threefold the rate of inflation. Low-income students continue to fall behind in their ability to access a college education. In 2007, two-thirds of all college undergrads needed some form of financial aid. On average, about half of these students received about $5,000 in grants, while about 40% took out loans averaging about $7,000. In 2013, the average student loan debt for recent graduates was $29,400. Others used veteran’s benefits and parent loans to help pay for their education. During this year, Pell Grants, averaging $2,600, will be awarded to about a quarter of all undergraduate students. The Department of Education distributes Pell Grants, which do not require repayment, and manages other financial assistance programs such as Stafford loans. There were nearly 10 million needy students awarded Pell Grants in 2011 for a total cost of $33 billion.

In addition to the need for increasing the availability of student grants and loans, there is also great need for students to be able to pay these loans off in a timely manner. Due to increasing college costs and stagnant family resources, the average college student now graduates owing about $30,000 in school loans. By comparison, the average student loan debt in 2004 was about $19,000. Recent studies reveal that graduate students, compromising only 14% of university enrollment, now account for nearly 40% of all student debt. Total student loan debt is now about $1.2 trillion, more than our total credit card debt. Even worse, many of these loans carry high interest rates set by the financial institutions which administered the student loan program. Servicing this debt is difficult for grads with lower-paying public service careers, those who are ill or unemployed, or those who failed to complete their degree. Advocates claim many young Americans are unable to afford car loans, home loans and other needed purchases due to student loan costs. These advocates say graduates should be required to pay no more than 10% of their income to service their student loans. They also say the balance of a student loan should be forgiven after 20 years – or after 10 years if one chooses a career in public service.

Pending Legislations:

S.897 & H.R.1979 – Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act

I oppose reforming current federal student aid policy and wish to defeat S.897 & H.R.1979

I support awarding Direct Stafford Loans to all eligible students attending participating institutions of higher education, setting the interest rate on Direct Stafford Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013, and before July 1, 2014, at the primary credit rate charged by the Federal Reserve banks on July 1, 2013, and wish to pass S.897 & H.R.1979

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Budget shortages have forced most states to cut funding for higher education. Combined with rapidly rising college tuitions, these factors are removing the opportunity for many Americans to attend a university. The average cost of tuition and fees at state-sponsored four-year schools is now 50% higher than it was only 10 years ago. The cost for a resident student attending a four-year public university is now about $14,000 a year, and more than double that amount at a private university. It is not unusual for either of these educational systems to enact significant tuition increases year after year. Some critics blame universities for not controlling costs and wasting money on sports and glamorous research programs. Advocates say cost containment and increased tuition assistance is the only way to keep college accessible to all Americans. They claim higher education is not meeting our nation’s needs because the proportion of young adults with two or four-year degrees is still the same (39%) as it was 30 years ago. They say we need to increase this proportion to 55% by 2020 to stay globally competitive.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current higher education affordability policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill prohibiting federal aid to institutions of higher learning where increases in tuition exceed the rate of inflation

 Posted by at 12:00 am