July 24, 2014

Kaine Co-Sponsors Legislation To Improve Post-Secondary Affordability And Job Training

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, co-sponsored three bills to make post-secondary education and career-training programs more affordable.

“The set of bills I am co-sponsoring today represent the type of comprehensive approach we need to make post-secondary education more affordable,” said Kaine. “In addition to increasing students’ access to Pell Grants and low-risk student loans, it’s critical we provide pathways for students to affordable career education programs that award professional licenses or certificates as an alternative option to traditional college degrees.”

The Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act secures automatic access to grant funds for low-income students and eases the process of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for all applicants. By guaranteeing the maximum Pell grant amount to any student whose family earns $30,000 a year or less and permitting families to use returns from the previous year to complete the FAFSA, the legislation will ensure students in need receive grant funding and will provide families more time to evaluate financial aid awards and make better informed decisions about the net costs of college.

The Fairness for Struggling Students Act will allow students who borrow money from private lenders for their education to discharge their debt during bankruptcy proceedings. By treating private student loans like any other form of private debt in bankruptcy court, this legislation will discourage lenders from offering risky loan packages.

The Jumpstart Our Business by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act will allow students to use Pell Grant funding for short-term job training programs that lead to industry-based certificates and licenses. Because current law allows students to use Pell Grant funding only for long-term job training programs, this bill will increase the affordability of at least 50 short-term jobs training programs in Virginia alone.

Kaine has made career and technical education, post-secondary education affordability and job training a top priority during his tenure in the Senate. He recently co-sponsored the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act to provide families with better estimates of college costs, as well as introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act to support career and technical education programs. Kaine has also co-sponsored the Supporting College Access and Success Through Dual Enrollment Act to help students earn college credits in high school in order to cut the cost of earning a college diploma.