Congress thoroughly takes on college

College students read on the quad.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Part of what's keeping Wall Street happy is government intervention. Like that $300 billion mortgage-rescue bill President Bush signed into law yesterday. There are more big doings on Capital Hill. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would let The Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco. That would mean the FDA could dictate nicotine levels and other ingredients in tobacco products.

And today, Congress is expected to look at laws governing higher education. That's everything from student loans to campus security. Sponsors say the measure would help rein in the cost of college. Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: The new Higher Education Act has something for everyone. It expands Pell Grants for poor students year-round, and adds new scholarships for military families. It makes textbook pricing more transparent. And it increases funding for schools with lots of black and Hispanic students. Plus, it boosts oversight of student loan programs.

Elizabeth Bickford heads up financial aid at the University of Oregon:

Elizabeth Bickford: There'll be real effort in simplifying the financial aid application process. And I think that will make a big difference for our low-income and our middle-income families.

The new law will also make colleges file reports about their expenses and tuition increases. Lobbyists gripe that it'll cost colleges more. They say requirements on everything from fire safety and disabled access, to illegal media downloading that will keep those tuition bills heading higher.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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