Assistant Secretary Stroup Issues Statement Regarding Report on College Costs

October 20, 2004

“We are pleased that the College Board report, Trends in College Pricing 2004, found that the average student at a four-year public institution is actually paying less for college than a decade ago. President Bush maintains his steadfast commitment to help working families have access to grants, low-cost student loans and education tax benefits to help ensure that all students who want to pursue a college education won’t have financial problems stand in their way.

“In the President’s 2005 budget, overall student financial aid would expand to $73.1 billion, serving some 10 million students and parents. Moreover, the Administration has invested more money than ever before—$12.7 billion in the 2003-04 academic year—in the Pell grant program, which the College Board report refers to as “the cornerstone of aid for low-income students.” A record number of students—5.1 million—are now using Pell grants to pay for college—one million more than when President Bush took office.

“This year the Department’s student loan programs will provide an estimated $52.2 billion to students and their families. With interest rates at historic lows—3.37 percent for student loans and 4.17 percent for parent loans—millions of student loan borrowers will save money with lower payments when they graduate. These borrowers also benefit from a deduction for interest paid on student loans, thus lowering the effective interest rate even more.

“The President’s budget also provides significant support for postsecondary students and their families through tax credits and deductions for higher education expenses, including $3.5 billion in Hope tax credits, $2.2 billion under the Lifetime Learning tax credit and $2.6 billion through deductions for higher education expenses.

“President Bush and Secretary Paige agree with the College Board’s conclusions that a college education provides a wide range of benefits for individuals as well as for our society as a whole, and they will continue to work hard to promote affordable access to postsecondary education for all Americans.”