Students at the University of Colorado went beyond their duties as campus leaders last week and made their mark on Capitol Hill as they traveled to Washington, D.C., to support education reform.
Thirteen members of CU’s Student Union spent their spring break successfully rallying for the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama today.
The act, which goes into affect July 1, will increase annual Pell Grant scholarships, invest more than $2 billion in historically black colleges and lower the cap for income-based repayment, according to the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.
The committee also reports that the bill will decrease the national deficit by $10 billion over the next decade and will increase U.S. loan-related jobs.
Daniel Ramos, a Boulder campus tri-executive, said about 15,000 students who receive Pell Grants, Perkins Loans or Access Direct Loans at CU will be helped by the changes.
“This was a great time for us to be in Washington,” Ramos said. “We were invited to the enrollment ceremony on Friday morning where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi affirmed the bill to send to the president to sign.”
After representatives from at least 150 schools lobbied last week in Washington under the banner of the United States Students Association, Pelosi thanked students for their support during her speech Friday morning, said Alex Schnell, the CU student government’s election commissioner.
“With the state funds at a national low, this bill will make money a much smaller factor for students who need financial support to attend college,” Schnell said.