for Access to a College Education
state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) started the
Higher Education Project in 1994, Congress was considering
cuts to education totalling nearly $30 billion over 7 years.
Programs on the chopping block included student loan subsidies
and campus based programs such as Federal work-study.
that time, Congress has rejected most of these proposals,
and has actually increased Federal funds available to higher
education. Along with a coalition of more than 50 other higher
education organizations, the State PIRGs have been working
to make Congressional support for higher education a reality.
PIRGs have organized rallies in Washington, DC and in the
states, have spoken out through the media and at campus events,
have used our experience as advocates to educate both citizens
and our elected officials about the benefits of investing
in education, and have been part of an enormous grassroots
effort to stop the raid on student aid.
have been clear:
- A one
year increase in student aid funding of $1.3 billion.
largest ever increase in the maximum Pell grant to $3,750.
funding for State Student Incentive Grants (SSIG), Perkins
Loans, and College Work Study.
and schools continue to have the choice of participating
in the Direct Loan program or the Guaranteed Student Loan
these victories will make a difference in the lives of students.
Students will receive more grant funding, have better service,
and will receive more aid from their schools when taking out
a student loan.
that the door to higher education will be just a little more
open to generations of students to come.
are just some of the accomplishments of State PIRGs' Higher
Education Project. As the 107th Congress considers changes
to the Higher Education Act and new proposals for funding
student aid, the State PIRGs will continue to be one of the
most active and effective voices for students and education.
for Student Rights
to fighting for access to a college education, the State PIRGs
have helped to stop attacks on student rights in the Congress.
two Congressmen, Rep. Solomon (R-NY) and Rep. Istook (R- OK),
introduced the Campus Gag Rule and tried to take away the
political voice of students who were so effectively speaking
out against attacks on education and the environment.
Gag Rule would have taken away all Federal funds to universities
and colleges where students used their own student fee money
to be involved in matters of public policy.
PIRGs joined with members of the higher education community,
student groups from Illinois Students For Life to Amnesty
International, and more than 1000 faculty and campus leaders
to oppose the Campus Gag Rule.
overwhelming success for student rights, the Campus Gag Rule
was defeated 6 to 8 in the House Appropriations subcommittee,
17 to 32 in the full Appropriations Committee, and finally
by a bi-partisan vote of 161 to 263 on the floor of the House
of Representatives. After
such rejection, the Campus Gag Rule was never even proposed
in the United States Senate.