An important piece of legislation is being considered by the U.S. Senate, S. 1334, a bipartisan effort whose impact on students at PCC and at higher education institutions across the U.S. would be substantial.
Many students at PCC and the nation’s more than 1,100 community colleges come from families of modest means and must borrow money to attend school. Subsidized student loan interest rates doubled on July 1 to 6.8 percent. S. 1334 adjusts interest rate formulas on undergraduate loans – both subsidized and unsubsidized – to lower student and parent loan rates. At PCC, more than 5,000 students are eligible only for loans. For many of these students, who balance family, work and academic obligations, the bill will help lower a barrier to attending school.
An amendment to S. 1334 was to have been offered when the bill is brought to the Senate floor. The amendment would have taken some budgetary savings from S. 1334 to increase funding to the Pell Grant program, and to restore ability-to-benefit (ATB) student aid eligibility for students enrolled in career pathway programs. Unfortunately, that amendment will no longer be considered.
Nonetheless, S. 1334 will provide a financial boost to our students, who view education as a steppingstone to prosperity. These students will be the foundation of a workforce that will thrive in a competitive global marketplace, and enhance the economic development of Southern Arizona.