Press Release: Congressman Foster Introduces a Package of Bills to Improve Educational Opportunities and Affordability
Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced four bills to address concerns with college opportunity and affordability.
H.R. 6205, the Public Services Loan Forgiveness Inclusion Act would make sure college graduates who choose to enter public service are making payments that qualify toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This bill would allow previously ineligible payments to become eligible if borrowers transfer to eligible repayment plans within five years of entering full time employment. Current student debt tops $1.3 trillion nationwide.
Two of the bills will expand resources for students in STEM fields. H.R. 6204, the No Cost Education Resources Act would help ease this burden on students in the STEM fields and also increase access to post-secondary academic materials across the country by making open educational resources accessible to students at no cost and available for download for free on the Internet.
H.R. 6203, the Partnerships for Progress and Prosperity Act would provide grants to local school districts to partner with STEM employers in their area, creating classroom to career opportunities for students.
“Student debt is a serious economic burden for too many Americans. Education is the key to economic opportunity, and it is Congress’s job to make sure this opportunity is affordable and accessible,” Congressman Foster said. “Providing resources to students who pursue a STEM education will not only encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields, it will also advance innovation in our economy.”
“As a college student, I believe a college education is still one of the best investments in our future, but we have to make sure everyone has access to it,” said Rachel Jacob, Student Association Vice President at Northern Illinois University. “Tuition and textbook costs can make it difficult for some students to pursue the dream of a college degree. This set of bills is a big step in the right direction for making education affordable for everyone.”
Currently, students can lose financial aid if they are convicted of even minor drug offenses. H.R. 6206, the Second Chance for Students Act would allow students convicted of marijuana possession to retain financial aid for six months on the condition they complete an approved drug rehabilitation program and two unannounced drug tests.