Making College More Accessible

Congressman Jim Matheson
2014-08-22 21:45:16
Congressman Jim Matheson, 4th Congressional District of Utah Dear Friend, It�s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end and a new school year is just around the corner. As we prepare to send our kids back to the classroom, Congress has been working to ensure their path to higher education is smoother and more accessible. College is becoming increasingly important for young people entering today�s workforce. The advantages of a college degree are clear � degree holders earn more on average over their lifetimes, and report higher levels of satisfaction with their work. The problem is, for some, college is just out of reach due to financial barriers or other obligations. With this in mind, the House of Representatives recently passed two pieces of legislation which seek to make the benefits of a college degree more accessible to all students. The�Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4984)�would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher learning to provide annual counseling to student borrowers who take loans under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Creating a channel to access this helpful information about the nature of student loans will allow prospective borrowers to make more informed decisions about how best to manage their student debt. For example, many students do not know that they are not obligated to accept the full amount of a loan offer. This legislation seeks to clarify any questions students may have about their rights and responsibilities when navigating the loan process. The�Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136) would direct the Secretary of Education to implement a voluntary test program to evaluate the potential benefits of a competency-based education model for certain higher education programs. Competency-based education is defined as �an education process that is characterized by the direct assessment and measurement of student learning, instead of measuring student�s credit or clock hours.� This self-paced model has significant advantages for people leading busy professional or family lives which often can prevent them from attending full-time degree programs. It is my hope that the United States Senate will pass these important bills, and the President will sign them into law. Making higher education accessible to all those interested is a worthy goal, and something which should be a high priority for our elected officials. We succeed as a community when our young people have opportunities to grow personally and professionally - and higher education is a valuable step down the road to prosperity and success. I am honored to serve in Congress on behalf of Utah families like yours. As your representative, I always appreciate hearing from you on current topics and issues affecting you and our community. Please�let me know areas you find especially interesting or where I can provide you with additional information. I value your ideas and look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Rep. Jim Matheson U.S. Representative 4th District of Utah � Contact information: Website: matheson.house.gov Washington, DC Office 2211 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone - (202) 225-3011 Fax - (202) 225-5638 Utah District Office 9067 South 1300 West Suite 101 West Jordan, UT 84088 Phone - (801) 486-1236 Fax - (801) 486-1417 Unsubscribe: matheson.congressnewsletter.net/mail/util.cfm Privacy Policy: matheson.house.gov/Privacy-Policy
August 22, 2014

Dear Friend,

It�s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end and a new school year is just around the corner. As we prepare to send our kids back to the classroom, Congress has been working to ensure their path to higher education is smoother and more accessible.

College is becoming increasingly important for young people entering today�s workforce. The advantages of a college degree are clear � degree holders earn more on average over their lifetimes, and report higher levels of satisfaction with their work. The problem is, for some, college is just out of reach due to financial barriers or other obligations.

With this in mind, the House of Representatives recently passed two pieces of legislation which seek to make the benefits of a college degree more accessible to all students.

The  would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher learning to provide annual counseling to student borrowers who take loans under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Creating a channel to access this helpful information about the nature of student loans will allow prospective borrowers to make more informed decisions about how best to manage their student debt. For example, many students do not know that they are not obligated to accept the full amount of a loan offer. This legislation seeks to clarify any questions students may have about their rights and responsibilities when navigating the loan process.

The  would direct the Secretary of Education to implement a voluntary test program to evaluate the potential benefits of a competency-based education model for certain higher education programs. Competency-based education is defined as �.� This self-paced model has significant advantages for people leading busy professional or family lives which often can prevent them from attending full-time degree programs.

It is my hope that the United States Senate will pass these important bills, and the President will sign them into law. Making higher education accessible to all those interested is a worthy goal, and something which should be a high priority for our elected officials. We succeed as a community when our young people have opportunities to grow personally and professionally - and higher education is a valuable step down the road to prosperity and success.

I am honored to serve in Congress on behalf of Utah families like yours. As your representative, I always appreciate hearing from you on current topics and issues affecting you and our community. Please  areas you find especially interesting or where I can provide you with additional information. I value your ideas and look forward to hearing from you.

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Washington, DC Office
2211 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone - (202) 225-3011
Fax - (202) 225-5638
Utah District Office
9067 South 1300 West Suite 101
West Jordan, UT 84088
Phone - (801) 486-1236
Fax - (801) 486-1417