REFORM EDUCATION AND MAKE COLLEGE AFFORDABLE sign now

As the students and graduates of higher education institutions across the country, we write to strongly urge you to support the principles of President Obama's higher education agenda. Helping low and middle-income families pay for college is essential to building a strong economic future and ensuring equal opportunity for all, and the Presidents plan will end wasteful subsidies to student loan companies and use the savings -- as much as $87 billion over 10 years -- to help students pay for college. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation, HR-3221, by a vote of 253 171.


But today, family wealth often determines whether a person can attend college. Pell Grants, federal grants for students with the most financial need, covered 72\% of the average cost of attending a public four-year college in 1976, but only 32\% of this cost in 2008. The proportion of students graduating with at least $25,000 worth of student loan debt has increased, from 5\% in 1996 to 24\% in 2008. As a result, many young adults are too burdened to enroll in and continue attending college. Meanwhile, shrinking state revenues have led to dramatic cuts in public college budgets, resulting in large-scale tuition increases. Some schools have also capped enrollment and reduced faculty levels.



At a time when our country is in great need of investment in education, these reforms will aid students, parents and workers through crucial innovations:



Strengthening Pell grants by investing funds to increase the maximum grant amount, allowing several hundred thousand more students to qualify for aid.



Switching to direct federal lending to end costly subsidies, ensure that borrowers no longer have to face market instabilities and can instead utilize more economical direct loans, and save $87 billion dollars to be invested into education and a fiscally responsible future.



Providing new major support for minority serving institutions, which are of critical

importance to the achievement of national goals related to college access and completion.



Simplifying the FAFSA form to lighten the load on students and families applying for aid through this daunting process.



Investing in early childhood education programs to encourage the adoption of early

childhood learning standards and best practices, along with the training of a skilled child

education workforce.



We hope we can count on you to stand with America's students and families, and support a proposal that will strengthen our economy and our nation's commitment to economic opportunity for all.


Sincerely,



The Undersigned, Students of Ohio

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Nettie HaydenBy:
TelecommunicationsIn:
Petition target:
Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich

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