US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Feds, States and Schools Must Work Together to Keep College Affordable

Thursday, February 02, 2012Joe Brenckle 202-224-2465

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a hearing today on college affordability, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said the federal government, states and institutions must work together to address the rising cost of higher education.

“Higher education has become too expensive and is increasingly out-of-reach for many students,” said Senator Enzi.  “Tuition and fees at public institutions increased an astonishing 8.7 percent last year, continuing a trend that has only accelerated over the last ten years.  The President has recently made a series of ambitious proposals he believes can begin reversing this trend.  However, if we have learned anything in recent years, it is that the government alone cannot solve this problem. If out-of-control tuition is going to finally be brought under control, everyone must work together to make significant changes.”

Senator Enzi noted that according to an article by Education Sector, an education policy think tank, “non-traditional” students actually outnumber “traditional” students.  The report says that out of 19 million students working toward graduate or undergraduate degrees, only 7 million students fit the “traditional” profile of a student going directly from high school to a college or university setting.  A large portion of students attend schools that have open enrollment policies with 43 percent of undergraduates attending community colleges. Enzi said the report stated that many college students do not fall between the ages of 17 and 24, with 37 percent 25 years or older.

“We must be certain that whatever we do to address affordability meets the needs of both traditional and non-traditional students,” Senator Enzi said.  “Community colleges are especially important in rural states like Wyoming, because they provide educational opportunities to students of all ages.  These opportunities allow students to acquire the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful and productive in every area of their lives.”

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