Today’s press releases from our Democratic Congressional delegation:
ALTMIRE: INTEREST RATES ON FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS WILL DROP JULY 1
College Cost Reduction and Access Act’s interest rate cut will save Pennsylvanians starting college this fall an average of $2,580
(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-04) today issued the following statement on the drop in interest rates on need-based federal student loans from 6.8 percent to 6.0 percent starting July 1st. As one of the key provisions of the historic College Cost Reduction and Access Act, this interest rate cut will save the average Pennsylvania student starting college this fall $2,580 over the life of his or her loan.
By 2011, interest rates on federal subsidized student loans will be cut in half to 3.4 percent, saving the average student with federal need-based student loan debt $4,400 over the life of his or her loan. Each year, 5.5 million students borrow need-based federal student aid.
“In recent years, the skyrocketing cost of college has become a huge financial burden for American families,” Altmire said. “During the 2006 election, Democrats pledged to make college more affordable and that’s exactly what we did by passing the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.
“On July 1, millions of college students are going to see the real benefits of this legislation when they see a drop in the interest rates on their federal student loans,” Altmire continued. “Given our sluggish economy and the growing toll that high gas and food prices are taking on families’ budgets, this drop in interest rates could not have come at a better time.”
For the 2008-2009 academic year, in addition to the federal student loan interest rates being cut to 6.0%, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act will give students $4,000 in up-front tuition assistance each year if they commit to teaching high-need subjects in high-need public schools upon graduation. Pell Grant scholarships will also increase by $490 (raising the maximum award to $4,731). By 2012, the maximum Pell Grant award will rise to $5,400, a $1,090 increase from 2006.
Congressman Kanjorski to Announce Grant for Area Affordable Housing;
Vacant school site to be converted to low-income rental units
West Hazleton, PA, June 30, 2008 – Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) will announce the awarding of a grant to help convert the former E.A. Encke Elementary School site in the Borough of West Hazleton to much-needed affordable housing.
The announcement will be made Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers at the West Hazleton Borough Building, 12 South 4th Street. West Hazleton Mayor Mike Rockovich, Dave Fagula, executive director of the Housing Authority of Luzerne County, and area affordable housing, community and economic development and banking leaders will join Congressman Kanjorski and the mayor to announce the grant. Full details of the project’s status will be shared during the event.
The new housing project on Madison Avenue will feature 30 rental units for very-low- and low-income individuals and is part of overall revitalization planning in the Borough.
ALTMIRE: REVAMPED G.I. BILL IS NOW LAW
Pennsylvania veterans eligible for additional $14,000 to pay for college
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-04) today issued the following statement on the revamped G.I. Bill, which the president signed into law this morning as part of the supplemental funding legislation. Pennsylvanians who have completed more than three months of active duty service since September 11, 2001 could now qualify for a maximum educational benefit of $23,846 a year, which includes $12,164 for tuition, $1,000 for books and $1,186 per month for living expenses. This is a dramatic increase over the original G.I. bill’s maximum education benefit of $9,990 a year.
Earlier this year, Congressman Altmire joined Congressman Harry Mitchell (AZ-05) in introducing the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act (Post-9/11 G.I. Bill – H.R. 5740), which was included in the supplemental funding legislation. More than 65,000 Pennsylvanians have been deployed since 2001 and could qualify for assistance under the new G.I. Bill. Veterans can find out more information on how to access these benefits by calling their universities’ veterans liaison’s office, calling 1-888-GIBILL-1, or going to www.gibill.va.gov
“Today, the promise of the G.I. Bill has been fully restored for our newest generation of veterans,” Altmire said. “As tuition costs rose in recent years, the real value of the G.I. Bill fell to the point where it covered only a fraction of the cost of a college education. Now, Congress has ensured that veterans will have the funding they need to pay for a quality education at any public university. I am confident that just like the millions of Americans heroes who went to college on the G.I. bill in the 1940s, today’s veterans will use this new G.I. Bill to strengthen our country.”
KANJORSKI STATEMENT ON ENACTMENT OF GI BILL AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENSION
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) released the following statement after the President signed the Supplemental Appropriations Bill into law, which included a new GI Bill and a provision to extend unemployment benefits for an extra 13 weeks for jobless workers.
“With almost 2 million American soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, I support the enactment of a new GI Bill today to provide full, four-year education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, just as was done after WWII. With many of our troops having served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, this action is long past due as current benefits pay only about 70 percent of a public college education. These men and women are fighting to protect America, and today we proved that we are working to support them once they return home.
“Additionally, we are facing tough economic times. Many families are personally feeling the effects of the slowing economy. A recent spike in the unemployment rate marked the largest jump in two decades. By expanding unemployment benefits for displaced workers, we are helping to provide much needed relief to Americans and their families right now.”