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Rep. Chu, Local Colleges Outline CA-27 Higher Education Act Priorities to Senators

April 4, 2018
Press Release

PASADENA, CA - In preparation for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) held a February 2nd roundtable discussion with representatives from institutions of higher education in her district, including Citrus College, Pasadena City College, East Los Angeles College, the California Institute of Technology, and the seven Claremont Colleges. The roundtable, hosted by Citrus College in Glendora, CA, featured administrators who provided first-hand information of how their institutions and students are affected by federal education policy, and discussed their priorities for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Those priorities were outlined in Rep. Chu’s letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions who are currently crafting a proposal to reauthorize HEA.

“The Higher Education Act (HEA) represents our nation’s commitment to expanding access and affordability to postsecondary education for all Americans,” said Rep. Chu. “House Republicans’ proposal to reauthorize this law, H.R. 4508 – the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, falls short on this promise by eliminating subsidized loans, grants for low-income students and teachers-in-training, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and other critical programs. That is why I convened a roundtable discussion to hear directly from school leaders on how reauthorizing HEA can improve the ways that the federal government supports students. What I heard from these leaders is that cuts to higher education funding will disproportionately hurt the students in my district who are already struggling to afford the cost of college. Reauthorizing HEA is an opportunity to grow our country’s investment in students through measures like expanding the Pell Grant, reestablishing subsidized loans for graduate students, strengthening on-campus student services, and reducing the burden of student debt. I urge the Senate to take a bipartisan approach and include these priorities in any HEA proposal they consider.”

“Citrus College was honored to serve as the host of Congressman Chu’s Higher Education Roundtable,” said Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D., Superintendent/President of Citrus College. “The meeting enabled the college to discuss the importance of strengthening the Pell Grant as a way to improve student success, while expressing our opposition to eliminating FSEOG, a program that serves our neediest students.”

Dr. Cynthia Olivo, Vice President of Student Services at Pasadena City College said, “Pasadena City College appreciated the opportunity to discuss reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and highlight the essential role that programs like Federal TRIO and student aid play for our more than 30,000 students.”

East Los Angeles College added, “Rep. Chu’s roundtable discussion on the Higher Education Act (HEA) provided valuable information on financial aid as well as served as a forum to discuss the needs and challenges of our students. East Los Angeles College administration further affirms its commitment to ensure our students are offered necessary supports to apply for financial aid such as the Pell Grants so that they can persist in their journey to complete certificates and degrees and contribute to the nation's economic well-being.”

"Private colleges both complement and supplement the work of community colleges and public universities in ensuring access to higher education,” said Stig Lanesskog, CEO of The Claremont Colleges Services. “Pell grants and federal loans are an important component of the financial aid that enables us to enroll worthy students regardless of financial need. We are grateful for Rep. Chu's leadership on the Higher Education Act, which is vital to supporting the public-private infrastructure necessary to keep college accessible."