McMorris Votes to Expand Access to Higher Education

Dec 29, 2008

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today voted in favor of
H.R. 609
, The College Access and Opportunity Act. The bill strengthens and improves the nation's higher education system by expanding college access for low and middle-income students and increasing America¡¦s competitiveness.

"Being the first in my family to go to college, I recognize the importance of making higher education accessible for those who wish to attend," said McMorris. "Providing access to higher education plays a vital part in Eastern Washington's economic growth and the ability of our high-tech companies to have a skilled workforce. By placing well-qualified teachers in the classroom and creating incentives for pursuing degrees in math, science and foreign languages, we will create a 21st Century Workforce that is prepared to be competitive in the global marketplace."

Recognizing the need to keep America competitive, McMorris yesterday introduced a bipartisan amendment to the bill that will strengthen competitiveness by increasing the number of teachers qualified to teach advanced placement courses and authorizing the recruitment of well-qualified Americans to serve as adjunct teachers in secondary school. The amendment passed by a bipartisan vote of 293-134.

The College Access and Opportunity Act expands access to higher education and protects the interests of students by:

  • Providing additional Pell Grant assistance for high-achieving first- and second-year college students;

  • Strengthening international and foreign-language study programs;

  • Providing scholarships and student loan relief for students who receive degrees in math, science and foreign languages;

  • Eliminating the State as Accreditor provision; and

  • Striking the College Affordability Index provision, while still maintaining transparency in tuition and cost increases.

As part of her continual efforts to improve access to higher education, McMorris sent a letter earlier this week to Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle and ranking Budget Committee Member John Spratt urging their continued support for the Perkins Loan program, which is slated to be eliminated in the Administration's FY07 budget proposal. The letter received bipartisan support and was signed by 89 Congressional members.

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