Dear Ms. C.:
I want to thank you for sharing with me your thoughts about student loan indebtedness. I appreciate learning of your circumstances, and I hope that your burdens ease with time. You are in my thoughts and prayers [my emphasis].
Over the past year, I have heard the concerns of many Floridians regarding the economy and their own financial well-being. We are only beginning to emerge from the most severe economic recession since the 1930s. Sadly, many middle-class Americans bore the brunt of the storm.
I also share your concerns about the exorbitant tuition costs that pervade our nation's colleges and universities [my emphasis]. Fortunately, over the past two decades, federal policies have created new opportunities for students to obtain financial assistance and grants. The Federal government currently offers several programs that provide direct low interest loans, need-based grants, and tax relief for students and their parents. Since the Higher Education Act was passed in 1993, the Federal government has provided needed assistance through the Federal Family Education Loan program, the William D. Ford Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits. These programs aim to enhance the access students from low and middle-income families have to postsecondary education. Today, the Federal government plays the preeminent role in providing direct aid to the nation's students and their families. This aid is supplemented by direct aid from states and higher education institutions, as well as sources of federal indirect aid such as state and local appropriations, which play an important role in helping to subsidize students' studies.
Please know that I will weigh your concerns when making any decisions on this or any related issue. I appreciate you taking the time to be involved and informed about such matters. Your opinions are important to me.
Senator Bill Nelson
P.S. From time to time, I compile electronic news briefs highlighting key issues and hot topics of particular importance to Floridians. If you'd like to receive these e-briefs, visit my Web site and sign up for them at http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/ebriefs.cfmDonate $10 to help AEM continue to actively raise awareness about the student lending crisis.