House bill would boost Pell Grants

AP The House voted Thursday in favor of thebiggest overhaul of college aid programs since their creation inthe 1960s - a bill to oust private lenders from the student loanbusiness and put the government in charge.

The vote was 253-171 in favor of a bill that fulfills nearly allof President Barack Obama's campaign promises for higher education:The measure ends subsidies for private lenders, boosts Pell Grantsfor needy students and creates grant programs to improve communitycolleges and college graduation rates, among other things.

"These are reforms that have been talked about for years, butthey're always blocked by special interests and their lobbyists,"Obama said Thursday during a rally at the University of Maryland.

"Well, because you voted for change in November, we're going tobring change in the House of Representatives today," the presidentsaid.

Ending loan subsidies and turning control over to the governmentwould save taxpayers an estimated $87 billion, according to theCongressional Budget Office. Lawmakers would use that money to helpmake college more affordable, increasing the maximum Pell Grant by$1,400 to $6,900 over the next decade.

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