Mark Warner meets with presidents of Virginia Tech, Virginia State, VCU

Mark WarnerU.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) met this week with Virginia university presidents to discuss shared priorities in federal higher education legislation soon to be before Congress.

The meeting, which took place in Sen. Warner’s Washington office on Capitol Hill, included Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) President Michael Rao, and Virginia State University (VSU) President Makola Abdullah. The Presidents expressed their support for increased funding and accessibility of student aid, teacher preparation programs, and workforce pathways, which are all governed by the Higher Education Act (HEA).

Efforts to update the HEA, which is the main federal law governing student financial aid and other key postsecondary education policies, stalled earlier this year. A renewed effort to reauthorize the outdated statute is expected in 2019.

“Virginia is home to some of the nation’s premiere colleges and universities. As such, their leaders should have a say in legislation that will affect how higher education institutions can help students succeed,” said Sen. Warner. “I look forward to having more of these meaningful discussions with Virginia college and university leaders so we can guarantee that the federal government is doing everything it can to improve opportunities for every student in our Commonwealth.”

Sen. Warner has introduced several bipartisan bills to improve transparency, accountability and affordability in higher education, and help borrowers better manage their student loan debts. The Dynamic Student Loan Repayment Act would make income-based repayment the default option for borrowers. The Employer Participation in Repayment Act would allow employers to apply pre-tax income to help their employees with student loan payments.

Finally, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act would promote financial literacy by providing students who are recipients of federal financial aid with comprehensive counseling services. Last month, Sens. Warner & Kaine called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to release more information about the Department’s flawed handling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

 
augusta free press

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