MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont’s lone congressman said Monday he would push legislation to make federal student load and grant programs more flexible as part of a broader plan to find new ways for students to pursue college educations.
Democratic Rep. Peter Welch was joined by officials with the Vermont State Colleges when he announced his introduction of the Flexibility to Innovate for College Affordability Act.
"A college education, the gateway to the American middle class, is slipping further and further from the reach of working families. Federal loans and grants are a lifeline for college students. But students continue to lose ground because financial aid increases are being eaten up by college tuition increases," Welch said in a news release. "This legislation creates a partnership between the federal government and our college administrators to cut unnecessary federal regulatory costs and encourage cost saving innovations."
The legislation would give students the freedom to use federal grants and loans for accelerated degree completion, competency based learning, competency testing and dual enrollment.
Welch said the aim is to help make college more affordable. College costs have risen 1,120 percent over the last 30 years, with outstanding student debt now at $1.2 trillion.
Welch’s proposal would encourage students to earn degrees in a shorter period of time while removing outdated and unnecessary federal regulations that contribute to tuition hikes.
The legislation would give allow students to use federal grants and loans for accelerated degree completion, competency based learning, competency testing and dual enrollment. It would also create a task force to look for ways to cut unnecessary regulations that contribute to college operating costs.