Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today commented on the U.S. Senate’s passage of the conference report of H.R. 4137, the Higher Education Reauthorization and College Opportunity Act of 2008.

“As the parent of two college-aged daughters, I can attest to the rising costs of higher education,” said Thune. “It is estimated that college tuition and fees at public, four year institutions rise at almost four and a half percent per year. College costs are difficult for many families to bear, and this legislation is designed to take some of the pressure off students who want to continue into higher education.

“This legislation provides more transparency in tuition costs for families and it streamlines the paperwork necessary for students to apply for federal loans. It expands the Pell Grant program for low-income students and provides special tuition incentives to Armed Forces personnel as well as their dependents.”

In addition to creating more transparency in college costs, the Higher Education Act protects students and taxpayers by including new reporting and disclosure requirements for both institutions and student loan lenders intended to prevent unfair or deceptive lending practices.

The bill includes a provision cosponsored by Senator Thune to expand access to technology for tribal colleges. This particular provision will allow tribal schools and other minority serving institutions to augment their digital and wireless networking technologies to improve the delivery of education services in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Additionally, the bill includes several new grant programs supported by Senator Thune for rural colleges and universities, known as the “College and University Rural Education Act” (S. 2580). These grant programs are designed to bolster rural education and increase enrollment and graduation rates at rural-serving institutions. A rural institution may use these funds to provide counseling and outreach to students in rural high schools, increase enrollment rates of non-traditional students, and strengthen academic programs.

The Senate passed H.R. 4137 Thursday night by a vote of 83-8, with one voting present. The House passed the bill earlier Thursday, and now the measure will be sent to the President for his consideration.