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Rep. Carbajal introduces bill to provide some college students more financial aid

Rep. Salud Carbajal has introduced legislation that is intended to provide more financial assistance for some students that attend college.

On Tuesday, Rep. Carbajal rolled out his “Degrees Not Debt Act” during a media event at Cal Poly’s University Union.

The bill would increase the amount that is provided by the Pell Grant.

The Pell Grant is a federal program that provides financial aid for lower-income students.

Currently, the maximum amount students can be awarded is just over $6,100.

The bill would increase the amount to $10,000.

“We want students to have more accessibility to purse their higher education by creating more affordable opportunities through financial aid, and at the same time, not incur so much loan debt that they have been incurring over the years,” said Carbajal.

The “Degrees Not Debt Act” is also intended to incentivize states to invest in higher education.

“It would create accountability and transparency and require the State of California to not only require and report out outcomes of how the students are doing, but also ensure their financial commitment to keep up with the federal investments beings made through the Pell Grant financial aid awards system,” Carbajal said.

For some students, they support the bill and feel it would provide much-needed financial relief.

“This would greatly help out students like myself and others who are trying to pay their way through college,” said Cal Poly junior Armando Nevarez. “Higher education in itself is difficult and so when you’re having to think about your other basic needs aside from that, that experience is going to be detrimental to your education.

According to Gerrie Hatten, Cal Poly Executive Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships, it costs about $29,000 to attend the university each year.

That includes all costs, adding up tuition, room and board, books and other living expenses.

“It’s a huge challenge for parents and families in trying to figure out how to cover all the expenses and what types of financial aid could be available,” said Hatten.

She agreed with Nevarez and added the extra money would be a boost for students.

“That’s a significance to a family that’s struggling to make ends meet,” said Hatten. “The more we can offer grant aid, the easier it is for students to be able to manage their costs.”

Carbajal said he authored the bill to help the nation escape the escalating amount of student debt.

He emphasized the combined total nationwide is about $1.5 trillion. It’s a total that is more than credit card debt.

“The money that would cover the expense of this particular bill would come by reversing the giveaway that was done through the tax bill that was passed in the last Congress, which gave $1.5 trillion away in benefits to one percent wealthiest corporations and individuals in this country,” said Carbajal

Carbajal introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday. A companion bill was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico).

KEYT 2019

Article Topic Follows: California

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