News for South Texans from
Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz
FOR RELEASE, 07.31.08
CONTACT: DANNY GUERRA, (202) 225-7742
HOUSE PASSES HIGHER EDUCATION BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C.‹Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz announced today that the House
of Representatives passed the conference report of H.R. 4137, the Higher
Education Opportunity Act. The measure is the first reauthorization of the
Higher Education Act in 10 years.
It encourages colleges to rein in tuition increases, restore integrity and
accountability to the student loan programs, simplify the federal student
aid application process, and expand college access and support for
low-income and minority students.
The bill focuses on expanding opportunities in the STEM (Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and provides loan
forgiveness for people employed in several high need occupations.
³Succeeding in college means having a plan in the classroom and having a
plan on how to pay for it,² said Congressman Ortiz. ³With these new
improvements, students will have more chances to obtain and afford a college
Pell Grants will now be available for students year-round, and the
legislation expands the Work-Study programs.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas A&M-Kingsville, both Hispanic Serving
Institutions, will benefit from the new incentives and programs for minority
The legislation provides competitive grants to institutions to promote the
training and job placement of real-time writers. Del Mar College is working
to train people for this high-demand career and to expand its program.
Real-time writers provide an essential public service by instantly
transcribing the spoken word on television programs to closed captioning,
ensuring that news and information is available to all viewers. Currently
all new English-language programming must be close-captioned, and
Spanish-language television must be close-captioned by 2010.
Expand need-based aid
* For the first time, makes the Pell Grant scholarship available year-round.
* Strengthens the Work-Study program and expands community service
opportunities in the program. The Work-Study program helps colleges and
universities pay the wages of eligible undergraduate and graduate students
working part-time to help pay for college.
Strengthen critical college readiness and support programs
* Increases the authorization level for the GEAR-UP program to $400 million.
The program helps prepare low-income elementary and secondary students to
succeed in college.
* Increases the authorization level for the TRIO programs Upward Bound,
Talent Search, and Student Services to $900 million. The TRIO programs seek
to increase high school completion and college participation and graduation
rates among low-income and first-generation college students.
Make key investments in Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)
* Creates new graduate programs for HSIs
* Creates partnership programs for HSIs to help attract young students into
science, engineering, technology, and mathematics fields.
Simplify the student aid application process
* Allows families to apply for federal college aid using a simpler, two-page
* Enhances financial literacy of college students and provides critical
consumer protections to help safeguard borrowers from risky college loan
arrangements and predatory lending tactics.
Office of Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz (TX-27)
2110 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-7742 phone
(202) 226-1134 fax