Legislation to make higher education more affordable

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(Host) The U.S. Senate gave its strong approval today to legislation that’s designed to make higher education more affordable for tens of thousands of students across the country.

The bill allocates $61 million to several Vermont programs over the next 5 years.

The legislation increases the size of federal Pell grants from $4,300 to $5,400 by 2012, and it cuts interest rates for student loans from 6.8 % to 3.4% over the next four years.

As a member of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Bernie Sanders strongly backed a new provision that calls for the forgiveness of college loans for people who spend at least 10 years in a public service career job:

Sanders is convinced that this part of the legislation will encourage a lot of students to enter these careers:

(Sanders) "If you want to go into child care it’s pretty hard for example and if you love kids and you want to do that work, it’s pretty hard to do it and pay off a large amount of student loans. And I think that it will influence a lot of people in terms of going into careers that they really wanted to go into that they would love to go into but right they simply could not afford to into. So I think it’s good for the country and good for the individual."

(HOST) Late this afternoon, the U.S. House also gave its approval to the bill. It now goes to President Bush for his signature in the next few days.

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