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Sep 16, 2009 12:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tim Bishop pushes the House to pass college aid bill

Sep 16, 2009 12:29 PM

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop is pushing for the House of Representatives to pass a bill that aims to make college less expensive for students.

According to a press release from Will Jenkins, Mr. Bishop’s press spokesman, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 adds money to the Perkins loan program, which provides federal loans to students. The Perkins loan program will also be expanded to more college campuses.

Mr. Bishop, who sponsored and help draft the act, served as the provost of Southampton College from 1986 to 2002.

The bill does not have an affect on federal taxes, Mr. Bishop explained. “All of the money we are going to commit to increase student financial aid and other elements of the bill is money we save from paying subsidies,” he said.

The congressman explained that the federal government pays private banks subsidies to participate in some loan programs. The government will save money by no longer paying those subsidies, he said.

In fact, the bill will work to lower the federal deficit by $10 billion over the next 10 years, he said.

The act also makes the interest rates on some subsidized federal loans variable in 2012. These interest rates are currently set to jump from 3.4 percent in 2011 to 6.8 percent in 2012. They are currently 5.6 percent. From July 2012 onward, the interest rates will match the rates for the Treasury bills, plus another 2.5 percent, Mr. Bishop explained.

The Pell grant scholarship program is also targeted by the bill. The legislation bolsters the funding in the Pell grant program by $40 million, which will allow the maximum Pell grant scholarship to rise to $5,550 in 2010 and $6,900 in 2019. The maximum value of the Pell grant will change at the same rate the consumer price index does, plus 1 percent, Mr. Bishop said.

The maximum Pell grant scholarship is currently $5,300, Mr. Bishop said.

The bill also simplifies The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, according to the release.

If the act is passed by the House of Representatives later this week, it still has to be approved by the Senate and signed off by President Obama before it becomes law.

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This bill once again expands government at the expense of private industry. The bill promotes "direct " lending, ending the role of local banks in the administration of student loans. That means that the Federal Government bureaucracy will take over the student loan industry, exchanging private sector jobs for government jobs. Government takeover is a theme of the incumbent and his party. The bill also establishes a new $3 billion fund for the government to dole out for new programs in colleges ...more
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 15, 09 5:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mr. Blumenthal, the banks are the middlemen between the government and the student. The banks make lending more and more expensive every year and contribute to the ever-increasing costs of college.

You are constantly screaming and yelling about "big government! Watch out!" Do you truly believe there is no room for government to improve the lives of our citizens? Do you think the GI bill was big government interfering in our lives?

As with most of your party, you stand up for ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Sep 16, 09 8:25 AM
This is one more step towards nationalizing the banks, in the guise of helping low income students pay for college. I'm not saying that tuition assistance is a bad thing in some cases, but not when considering the end result to which this will lead.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 17, 09 9:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
The government is playing a shell game with money..we don't need to give them anymore power.
By BeachGal (72), Hampton Bays on Sep 17, 09 9:18 PM
Hey I do agree with ONE thing Bishop has done. He Voted to stop Acorn funding. I applaud him. That was a real reach for a guy like him. How many billions of our tax payer dollars did out gvt waste on that one?
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 18, 09 12:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
He shouldn't have voted for the "stimulas package" that allowed it in the first place. (especially without reading it)
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 18, 09 1:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
the guy was a provost at southampton college for 29 years. That experience should make him very qualified on setting such important policies such as health care, war in Iraq, cap and trade and finance. Many people running this country are grossly unqualified. This guy is one of them but he is our ELECTED representitive like it or not. All we can do is hope to vote him out next election.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 19, 09 7:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
if you look up provost in webster, one of the definitions is "obsolete". mr. bishop is indeed obsolete and will be replace at the next election.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Sep 19, 09 7:50 AM
Bishop will be replaced by whom? Which nonentity are the Republicans putting up this time?
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Sep 19, 09 8:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
Subsidizing another loan program, in truth is money to the colleges which have become grossly overpriced. Just like subprime mortgages inflated the cost of housing, education loans inflate the cost of education.

When college prices are out of line, and students don't come, prices will adjust to the true value of the education. Recently the cost of higher education has been distorted by the home equity loans people took out to pay for kids college when housing values were artificially ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Sep 19, 09 8:45 AM
You are correct when you say this is just another loan program.The subprime mortgage mess and housing crisis fueled by loose lending typify this predatory lending on a larger scale. Just look at the mortgage scandal unfolding in our own backyard.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Sep 19, 09 10:28 AM
Tim Bishop is one of the most effective, intelligent, compassionate congressmen in the country. I am proud that he is my congressman. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion (even though some of the commentators here are way off base). He would be the first one to engage in a dialogue with any of you, listen to your opinions and tell you the basis of his positions; I have seen him do this on several occassions.
By SamIAm (36), hampton bays on Sep 19, 09 12:44 PM
mickey Mouse would do a better job than him. Bishop will engage in dialogue true but he ALWAYS votes along with the very left regardless. He cant think for himself and definitely does not listen to his constituents
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 19, 09 2:11 PM
The government pays billions of dollars a year in fees and guarantees to banks who raise interest rates and only serve as the middle man. To cut them out and give the money to students in the form of lower interest, more pell grants, and more loans makes perfect sense - Unless of course you support the very same criminals who got us into this crisis.

By the way, Bishop was elected. HAH! Stop your crying and go out and support a candidate you like so we can defeat them too.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 19, 09 2:52 PM
This bill once again expands government at the expense of private industry. The bill promotes "direct " lending, ending the role of local banks in the administration of student loans. That means that the Federal Government bureaucracy will take over

Yeah! Why should the banks be the middlemen, guaranteed by government to have loans repaid and debtors pursued by U.S. gov. No risk loans, subsidized by the gov.
Ridiculous bank welfare. Banks should have been taken off ...more
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Sep 20, 09 1:53 AM
Mo, A quick look through Mr. Blumenthal's website and you will immediately notice that he is an anti-regulation, corporate-give-away-loving, Bush-school republican. It is hard to believe that there are still those on the right clinging to the failed policies of Bush, but Mr. Blumenthal seems determined to play a role in bringing back those very same policies that led this country to the brink of economic collapse.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 20, 09 6:22 PM