Norcross Votes Against Higher Education Authorization that Makes College More Expensive
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after a 13-hour markup, Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, voted against HR 4508, which would amend and re-authorize the Higher Education Act. The partisan legislation, which was crafted behind-the-scenes and, before today, was never discussed in a public hearing, would make college more expensive for millions of working families.
“We need to make college more affordable, more inclusive and more effective in preparing students for the jobs of the future,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “At a time when Republicans are already rewarding billionaires at the expense of hardworking families with their tax scam, they are now making college less affordable. It’s a double-whammy for the middle class.
He added: “Our children and grandchildren should not be graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and a piece of paper that doesn’t lead to a good-paying job. We needed a bipartisan re-authorization that helps students access a high-quality, affordable education. What happened today was another pro-wealthy, partisan ploy.”
Below are some specific items Congressman Norcross fought for:
Norcross offered an amendment to provide grants for community college programs that help students graduate quicker and spend less money on college. The grants could be used by schools like Rowan College at Gloucester County and Rowan College at Burlington County to develop and enhance their pre-existing 3-in-1 programs.
Norcross also supported the Pell Grant amendment to undo the attacks on the student aid program, and voted to simplify and expand the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. Plus, given the high interest rates on old student loans that were set by Congress, Norcross voted to allow refinancing to give a much-needed break to people struggling to build a future.
Students that require extra training do not get a fair shot right now and Norcross offered a remediation amendment to change that. His amendment would make developmental education more effective and less expensive.
Additionally, Norcross always fights to make apprenticeships more popular and affordable. He was an electrician’s apprentice and then worked for years installing and restoring power for New Jersey homes, businesses and industrial sites. Today, he supported an amendment to ensuring federal dollars go to quality apprenticeships.
Norcross offered an amendment to increase funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. This would allow colleges to properly operate campus child care centers and encourage students and parents at any age to pursue higher education.
He also stood with DREAMers – one-fifth of whom are currently enrolled in higher education classes and another third of whom are in high school. Norcross believes hard-working and talented young people who are American in every way, except on paper, deserve a shot at the American Dream.
Norcross, who is vice-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, voted to keep alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in place at institutions of higher learning. Given the staggering impact the opioid epidemic is having on our communities, Norcross was shocked Republicans were weakening a law that helps prevent drug abuse.
He also voted to reinstate public student loan forgiveness for the men and women who provide services for the public good, to improve college access and completion for students with disabilities, and to properly fund for minority serving institutions.