Higher education bill passes

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(Host) The U.S. Senate has passed a higher education bill that makes an additional $4 million in college grants available next year for Vermont students.

Senator Bernie Sanders is a member of the Senate Education Committee and supported the bill.

(Sanders) “For many, many years while the cost of a college education is soaring, Congress did virtually nothing about making it easier for middle class and working families. I think last night was a major step forward.”

(Host) Sanders says the legislation increases the size of the grants, and makes them available to more students.

(Sanders) “We raised the eligibility level from $20,000 to $30,000 for families to get the maximum Pell grant. In addition to that, there is a significant debt forgiveness program for those people who after graduating college decide to go into public service, whether it’s teaching, law enforcement, nursing, child care or whatever.”

(Host) President Bush has threatened to veto the bill. Sanders says he’s not really surprised that the president doesn’t support the bill.

(Sanders) “But I think what the president will find is that many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, in the House, understand that we have got to substantially increase financial aid for families. And I think that the President will reluctantly sign this bill.”

(Host) The bill now goes to a conference committee where lawmakers will work out differences with a version already passed by the House.

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