Torres Helps Inland Empire Students Access Higher Education, Lower Student Loan Debt

Los Angeles area residents owe nearly $51 billion in student loan debt, according to a recent study by Experian

Appropriations bill increases funding for federal student aid programs by $492 million 

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (CA-35) announced that the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Related Agencies Appropriations Bill contains her priorities to provide Inland Empire students with financial support to pursue higher education. A 2018 study by Experian found that California student debt has more than doubled over the last 10 years. The legislation increases funding for federal student financial assistance programs by $492 million for a total of $24.9 billion. Federal student financial assistance programs like grants do not need to be repaid, while work-study programs allow students to earn money to help pay for school.

“We cannot allow high costs and a crippling student loan crisis to keep the dream of a college education out of reach for Inland Empire students. Federal student financial assistance programs make it possible for low-income and first-generation students, not just a privileged few, to pay for college without being buried under debt that they’ll have to repay for the rest of their lives,” said Torres. “This increased funding will lessen the financial burden on students, allowing them to focus on their studies and preparing for a career.”

Specifically, the legislation increases:

The maximum award for Pell Grants to $6,345, an increase of $150, to help keep pace with inflation.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program by $188 million for a total of $1 billion. The President had proposed eliminating this program.

Federal Work Study by $304 million for a total of $1.4 billion.

Torres has long been a strong supporter of federal student financial aid programs. She is a cosponsor of H.R.2084, Year-Round Pell Grant Restoration Act, which would make qualified students eligible to receive more than one Pell Grant in an award year.

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