Ferguson: We must give our students the opportunity to prosper
WASHINGTON D.C. –Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, today released the following statement on the introduction of The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. The PROSPER Act will reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 for the first time since 2008.
“Higher education has long been a stepping stone for Americans,” said Ferguson. “Since 1965 we have made great strides to ensure more and more students have access to these opportunities, but it is time to shift our focus. Our students currently face a higher education system plagued with skyrocketing costs and a student debt crisis that saw 580,000 student borrowers default on their loans in the last year alone. We must give our students the opportunity to prosper. This legislation holds failing institutions and programs accountable while giving successful institutions the ability to reverse rising costs and empower students to make informed decisions about their own education.”
The PROSPER Act would:
- Help students attain a less costly degree by creating a pathway for competency-based education programs to be eligible for federal student aid.
- Double the allocation for work study programs and continue year-round Pell grants with a new offer of a Pell bonus for students who enroll in more courses to complete faster.
- Eliminate burdensome federal regulations and strengthen the accreditation process, providing transparency for students and reducing costs.
- Improve financial aid counseling and early awareness of federal financial aid options.
Ferguson’s bill, the Help Students Repay Act, aimed at helping students make progress towards paying down their student loan debt is included in the PROSPER Act. Currently, student loan borrowers must choose from nine different loan repayment plans, five of which are income-driven. Ferguson’s proposal would replace these five plans with a single, simplified income-based repayment plan.