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First, we must expand aid for all American students, including the disadvantaged and the middle class.
Our Nation's families are feeling the squeeze when it comes to higher education.
College costs have risen by leaps and bounds, while the eligibility standards for many student aid programs have been tightened.
The result is that poor students have no chance, and middleincome students are finding that the American dream of bettering themselves is slipping out of their grasp.
The administration is now advocating that we further restrict eligibility for student aid.
Their version of "Robin Hood" is to steal from the near-poor to aid the very poor.
We should not tolerate this threat to the American dream.
We must expand aid for all Americans, including the poor and the working families whose hard work and tax payments make this Nation great.
I have introduced to legislation, the National Liberty Scholarship and Partnership Act, which provides a virtual guarantee to all disadvantaged young people in this Nation that cost will not be an obstacle to college attendance.
Moreover, I have cosponsored a bill, the Middle Income Student Assistance Act, to extend Federal student aid programs to middleincome Americans.
Second, we will not succeed in expanding student aid for any of our students unless the public has full confidence in the integrity of our Nation's higher education programs.
Defaults in the student loan program will cost the Federal Government in excess of $2.7 billion this year.
In fact, more than half of all Federal dollars for the guaranteed student loan programs are spent on default payments, rather than on education.
At this crucial time in our Nation's struggle to ensure economic growth, we cannot afford to waste Federal education resources.
Our Nation boasts the best higher education system in the world, and most of our Nation's educational institutions are providing high quality training for their students.
However, the quality of some postsecondary education institutions is poor, and some institutions are engaging in outright fraud. We must take strong action during the reauthorization process to restore integrity to all Title IV student aid programs.
It is my own view that we should do so principally by preventing defaults before they occur, so that we do not in any way limit the access of students to quality higher education programs.
That is why I have cosponsored a bill, the Integrity in the Higher Education Act, along with Congressman Goodling of Pennsylvania, who could not be here today, which is designed to significantly strengthen the role of States in the approval of institutions of higher education.
This bill will help us improve the quality of higher education programs, while also saving the taxpayers large sums of money which are currently being wasted through fraud and abuse.
Today, we are privileged to have with us some of our State's most highly respected experts on higher education, who will offer their vision of the future for our Nation's campuses.
However, we will also hear testimony from two students who speak directly to the most important issues in this reauthorization.
One student from a disadvantaged background found that Federal student aid was not available to finance her dream of a higher education, and it was only through extraordinary hardship that her family was able to help her succeed.
Another student fell prey to a fraudulent trade school which bilked her, the Federal Government, and the taxpayers.
Their testimony about the failures of Federal student aid programs will be alarming, but it will also suggest to us a course of action for the committee as we promote legislative changes.
It is particularly fitting that this hearing is taking place in New York-not just because New York's students rely heavily on Federal student aid, but because the New York delegation is the largest on the House Education and Labor Committee.
I am pleased to welcome at this point my colleagues on the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Congressman Serrano from the Bronx, Congresswoman Molinari from Staten Island, and I am also pleased to welcome the senior member of our delegation, Major Owens.
We are committed to making positive changes in the Higher Education Act that will directly benefit New York's students and New York's economy.
At this point, I will yield to my colleagues for their opening remarks.
Ms. MOLINARI. Thank you Chairwoman Lowey, and thank you for bringing us together during this very important time.
Clearly all of us here and in the United States Congress are extremely mindful of the challenge that is before us and the importance of the task.
We are dealing on a national level in every area of our country with limited resources and an unlimited need for those resources.
Like most other problems, that situation in that scenario is exaggerated in New York City where in some cases we have the poorest of the poor, the most wealthy of the citizenry and the grandest of dreams and possibly our best hope for tomorrow, here in New York City.
So we come together very mindful of our challenge and a bit overwhelmed by some of the difficult decisions we are going to have to make.
We're going to have to focus in on Pells versus student loans. Real investment questions correlating the need of higher education to guarantee success.
We are using this bill to fill individual voids, but perhaps we have to look at this bill also in terms of funding national voids, and giving a different perspective to filling those needs, such as teaching needs in mathematics and science as nursing professions.
How do we use this bill to solve a lot of society's problems? I agree with my democratic colleagues that the administration proposal causes us great concern.
It could, in fact, price out as many as six million middle-class students.
Middle-class students who will be virtually unable to secure a loan, because their family has a mortgage.
Driving up here today, with a very close friend of mine who is a former dean of the College of Staten Island and sits on the New York City Board of Education, he came up with a point and it is really mindful of where we are today.
The majority of our students will be paying as much for their college education, if not more than, their parents paid for their house where their children were born.
It's a very overwhelming situation we find our young people in and a very deciding moment for the future of our country.
So I will cut my opening statement short and also submit it for the record, because clearly we have assembled and we are grateful for their participation.
We look forward to your suggestions.
We desperately want to hear what you have to say and guide us at this critical point.
This is the last and most significant effort that we will be making as the United States Congress as we enter into the next century.
So the task before us is overwhelming, but what we could achieve from the results of today and hearings like this throughout this country, may be equally overwhelming on the positive side.
I just want to take this moment to thank these very important men and women for taking their time to present their views and their visions for New York City and our Nation's higher education system.
Mrs. LowEY. Thank you, Ms. Molinari.
I would like to welcome our senior member of the delegation, Major Owens. Thank you for joining us, and we'll hear from Mr. Serrano next.
Mr. SERRANO. Thank you, Madame Chairwoman.
I'm very pleased that our subcommittee is holding this hearing in New York City.
Each of these hearings is important because they provide an opportunity to listen to the concerns and suggestions of both students and educators across the country.
Proposals which will help us in undertaking this subcommittee's task of improving the Higher Education Act upon its reauthorization.
I join my colleagues in thanking our host and former colleague President Brademas of New York University, for allowing the subcommittee use of this facility.
He's been sitting there for about a half an hour which indicates to him now what he used to do to witnesses when he sat over here.
We are at a serious crossroad in this country. We need to reassess and redefine the Nation's goals in terms of education to ensure among other objectives that our country has a properly educated and trained work force.
In doing so, we must seek new approaches. We must rid the present system of programs that do not work, without undermining
or jeopardizing the programs that are successful in promoting the ability of students to pursue a higher education.
The President has sent American youth a crushing message in his budget proposal to free student aid programs for fiscal year 1992.
That is, that the administration is obviously unwilling to invest in programs that would make college accessible to all Americans.
Student loan defaults, grants and loans, efforts to simplify the financial aid process, improving minority student access, and increasing funds available to the various Title IV programs are crucial for fulfilling the goal of the Higher Education Act.
That goal is to make postsecondary education available to all Americans.
Minority students, access and retention is still a major problem in America today.
We must improve and promote the delivery of postsecondary education to minority students in tutorial, counseling and recruitment programs.
According to recent census data, minority populations have increased and thus, are becoming a larger proportion of the school age population.
Teacher shortages, and especially the shortages of minority and bilingual teachers, is such that an increased and a renewed effort must be made to recruit and professionally train teachers.
Teachers must be empowered to address the special educational, cultural and linguistic needs of second language minority students. Later this week, I plan to introduce legislation establishing a teacher opportunity program to enable paraprofessionals working in targeted schools to become certified teachers through part-time and summer study.
Access, support and determination are the keys for our students, parents and teachers.
I look forward to listening and learning from our distinguished panelists today.
Mrs. LowEY. Thank you.
Mr. OWENS. Chairwoman Lowey and my colleagues, Congressman Molinari and Congressman Serrano, I want to thank you for bringing these hearings to New York City.
I have no opening statement. We have a very impressive array of all-star witnesses here and I would like to get on with that business, starting with our star witness who, if ever they created a hall of frame for great legislators, it would be headed by John Brade
Mrs. LowEY. Thank you, Major.
Before we begin, in honor of New York, we have this Big Apple timer.
Unfortunately, we understand that we're going to be called back to Washington this afternoon for some important votes.
So we're going to keep rather tough time on both our witnesses, as distinguished they may be, and also our colleagues. We're going to limit all of us to 5 minutes.
I believe one of our staff will be turning this timer and when you hear the bell, you'll know that's a little bit of a hint.
I do apologize in advance, this is necessary to ensure that all wittnesses are heard.
At this point, I want to thank Dr. Brademas for hosting this hearing, for being our star witness. We are very appreciative to you.
Certainly, Dr. Brademas as you know, was a leader in Congress, and is now the president of our Nation's largest private university. Dr. Brademas served in Congress for 22 years, where you were a principal author of major legislation affecting all levels of education, including higher education.
He also served as a Majority Whip in the House. In fact, it's a position that just opened up again, unfortunately.
You've been president of New York University since 1981 and more recently, Dr. Brademas was asked by Chairman Ford of the Education and Labor Committee to act as an advisor to our committee during this very important reauthorization process.
Again, I am very grateful to you, Dr. Brademas, for hosting this hearing and for being our first witness. We are very privileged to have you here and we thank you.
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN BRADEMAS, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Dr. BRADEMAS. Thank you very much, Madame Chair and distinguished members of the subcommittee. At the outset, let me extend a warm welcome to all of you at New York University.
We had Boris Yelstin here last Friday morning, so this is a very exciting week. We have a distinguished group of New Yorkers and I'm delighted to see so many New Yorkers on this important committee.
I echo how particularly agreeable it is, because I served on your subcommittee and full committee, as you say, for more than two decades.
I want also to say how glad I am that my valued friend and colleague, Bill Ford is the Chairman of the committee, because I think he is one of the ablest legislators with whom I ever served in the House of Representatives.
I'm glad also to welcome another old friend, Tom Wolanin who is as knowledgeable as anybody in our Nation's capital or in the country on the subject that brings us together.
What I want to do this morning is place your deliberations in concrete context by illustrating the significant ways in which the Higher Education Act contributes to this University and its students.
And I would ask you unanimous consent that my complete statement be printed in the record as read, so that I could focus on the more significant and far reaching Title IV.
I recommend, as you look at this title, the following guidelines. To recapture the buying power of Pell grants and making the tools of access for which they were designed, the maximum award should be increased substantially from the current $2,400 and annually adjusted to keep pace with inflation.