Los Angeles – Today, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, candidate to replace retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, met with college students and graduates to discuss her higher education priorities that she will pursue in the United States Senate.
The plan, titled ‘College Education for All,’ includes 5 major priorities, including affordable $5/unit courses, 4-year degree programs in Community Colleges, year-round Pell Grants, educational access for service members, and opportunities for student loan refinancing.
Rep. Sanchez is a proud product of the public education system. She was one of the first generation of children to be enrolled in the ‘Head Start’ early childhood education program, and later was a recipient of the Cal Grant A and Federal Pell Grants when she attended college. The opportunities afforded to her by these programs influenced her to become a passionate advocate and champion of federal educational programs when she was elected to the United States Congress in 1996 – with Rep. Sanchez fighting every year since her arrival in the House of Representatives to ensure full federal funding and the expansion of the Head Start and Pell Grant programs.
“As a recipient of the Pell Grant, and as the first Head Start child to become a member of the United States Congress, I understand and deeply appreciate the fact that even the hardest working and most motivated students often need a helping hand in order to have a real opportunity for achievement and success,” said Rep. Sanchez. “The Pell Grant was an investment in my education that allowed me and so many others find a path to the American Dream. I believe it is incumbent upon us to invest even more in the new generation of students, who now face skyrocketing tuition and student debt rates,” she continued.
“My higher education agenda will be a smart step in making education – and as a result, the American Dream – more attainable for all those who are willing to work hard. Our economy depends on the strength of our workforce – strength built upon access to education for all, strength built upon success for ALL.”
The ‘College Education for All’ plan will consist of 5 major legislative priorities:
1) Making community college more affordable for the every-day American by bringing the price of tuition down to $5/unit.
2) The expansion of 4-year bachelor degree programs available at low-cost Community Colleges as an alternative to traditional, expensive 4-year universities. The programs offered will be geared towards workforce training programs such as automotive technology, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, educational services, etc.
3) The expansion of the Federal Pell Grant program, so that it can cover the entire cost of public four-year schools all year round, rather than only during spring and fall semesters. This will tremendously aid the nontraditional student of today, who is either working full-time or responsible for a family at home.
4) Common sense reforms to allow for Student Loan Refinancing options which enable college graduates to refinance high-interest educational loans in the same way that home and car loans currently can be.
5) Expanding education access for armed service members, such as providing funding for more distance education and online education programs for those who do not have access to a college campus, or those who are unable to attend actual classes due to employment.