Sens. Collins, Reed introduced legislation bolstering higher education affordability, access

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U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) recently introduced the Partnerships for Affordability and Student Success (PASS) Act as a means of making higher education more affordable, accessible, and achievable.

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The legislation seeks to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 — reestablishing a federal-state partnership increasing need-based aid, providing grants to improve student outcomes and reduce college costs, and build institutions of higher learning public accountability.

“Education plays a vital role in opening the doors of opportunity to all Americans, but the rising cost of a college education threatens to close those doors to many families across the country,” Collins said. “Our bipartisan bill would help alleviate such financial strains by expanding need-based financial aid and creating a federal-state partnership program to improve state educational attainment, college access, affordability, and completion.”

Under the legislation, states would be required to commit to maintaining investment in higher education and possess a higher education plan with measurable goals for access, affordability, and student outcomes.

“College is expensive,” Reed said. “Today, too many hard-working young people and their families are falling behind as they try to pay for their degrees that were supposed to help them get ahead. The PASS Act will help make a college degree more affordable and accessible by reinvigorating the federal-state partnership for higher education with an emphasis on need-based grant aid. Over 43 million Americans now owe more than $1.6 trillion in student loans. Today’s students should have the same opportunity as previous generations.”

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