Panel advances student loan reforms – Bill includes incentives to recruit and retain teachers

From: Education Daily
The student loan reform bill that the House Committee on Education and Labor cleared Wednesday evening by a 30-16 vote includes several proposals of interest to K-12 educators and to school administrators. By and large, members’ debate honed in on the hot button issue of student loan reform. H.R. 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act, would reduce federal subsidies to college loan lenders by $19 billion over five years and transfer $18 billion of the savings to financial aid programs geared toward making college more affordable to students — a key priority for both parties. It would direct $750 million in savings to deficit H.R. 2669 is a “reconciliation” bill, which complies with instructions from the FY 2008 budget resolution. House leaders hope to enact it ahead of the Higher Education Act reauthorization. Many stakeholders had not expected the committee to incorporate K-12 proposals into the reconciliation bill, which enjoys procedural protections usually reserved for deficit-reduction purposes. So when the committee endorsed plans to package incentives to help recruit and retain teachers, it came as welcome news to many stakeholders. “Using reconciliation as a vehicle to address the critical and persistent teacher shortage is very wise,” said Jane West, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s vice president of government relations and external affairs. H.R. 2669 includes a TEACH grant proposal worth $375 million over five years, which Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the committee chairman, first introduced in 2005 as part of a larger package.

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