According to a press release Thursday from the Committee on Education and Labor, Congress will vote on upcoming healthcare legislation to include measures to make college more affordable and create more jobs.

Congress has decided to help students and their families with this bill, by redirecting funding and helping make college more affordable. More Americans will have access to higher education and the skills needed to be successful in our economy.

Senator Tom Harkin unveiled the provisions, and said, “Education is the key to success in this country. It has the ability to transform a young person’s life and give them opportunities above and beyond the generations before them. But as millions of Americans struggle to afford the costs of higher education, multi-billion-dollar, taxpayer financed subsidies continue to flow to private banks.

The legislation would originate all federal student loans directly through the government, and eliminate wasteful subsidies to banks. The change would generate $61 billion in savings over a 10 year period, which would be used to boost Pell Grant scholarships, strengthen community colleges, and make student loan payments more manageable for students.

Other highlights of the legislation:

  • Investing $36 million into the Pell Grant program over 10 years – including $22.6 million to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to keep up with inflation.
  • Investing $2.55 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. These establishments play an important role in education our nation’s low income and minority students.
  • Making federal student loans more manageable to repay by lowering the monthly cap from 15 to 10 percent of their discretionary income for new borrowers after 2014.
  • Preparing students and workers for competitive jobs by investing $2 billion in a competitive grant program for community colleges to develop and improve education or career training programs