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Just wanted to make sure you saw this:
Governor Dean Announces A Better Deal For Higher Education
Dean higher ed plan provides financial incentive; quadruples AmeriCorps
HANOVER, NH-Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., today announced a plan to ensure that the dream of a college education is never denied because of a family's financial situation, that students are given incentives to complete high school and apply to college, and that debt does not prevent graduates from serving the community in a job they love.
"Today's higher education system simply doesn't work because our political process has stopped working for all Americans. To pay for his reckless tax cuts, President Bush's administration had to cut Pell Grant funding for 84,000 students. Hundreds of thousands of students will be getting smaller grants. It under-funded financial aid by $1.4 billion. And the administration stood by and watched as Congress cut funding for AmeriCorps, giving students even fewer opportunities to pay for higher education," Dean said in a speech here at Dartmouth College.
"When he signed the Higher Education Act of 1965, Lyndon Johnson said, 'A high school senior anywhere in this great land of ours can apply to any college or university in any one of the 50 states and not be turned away because their family is poor.' But that vision is far from fulfilled," Governor Dean continued.
"When I am president, I will seek real change in the way we approach higher education. And I will make a fundamental commitment to our children: that every one of them will be able to afford to go to college if they commit to work hard, stay in school and graduate from high school," Dean said.
His plan, the Dean College Commitment, provides hope to high school students and their families by broadening access to college by ensuring that, not later than middle school, students would develop a plan for their futures, including the courses they need to take in high school; families would receive an advance determination of their eligibility for federal financial aid; and they would have assistance in developing a savings plan for college expenses.
Then, upon graduating from high school, students would:
Have access to $10,000 per year for postsecondary education-either traditional college or high-skills career training.
Never have to pay more than 10% of their income after college on student loan payments (and even less if they enter service fields like nursing or teaching in high need ares).
And, if they work and make these loan payments for 10 years the loans will be paid in full.
Those who enter public service professions will get a special bonus: Nurses, teachers, social workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians in high need areas would never pay more than 7 percent of their income.
The plan would also benefit Americans already in the workforce who are still making payments on student loans. If your payments on your undergraduate loans are more than 10% of your income, you will be eligible for a tax credit.
In addition to the public service incentives, Dean will boost opportunities for Americans to serve their communities while earning additional money for education, by increasing the number of AmeriCorps positions to 250,000. Of these, 50,000 will be dedicated to new "Frontline" public safety national service programs, which will provide opportunities for young Americans to serve for two years as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and forest and park service rangers, enhancing our nation's safety and security.
"Students who normally wouldn't be able to pursue public service careers -- because they'd be saddled with debt -- will now be able to follow their dreams after college. It will also encourage students to enter fields like nursing and teaching where our country is facing shortages," Governor Dean said.
Governor Dean's proposal would give a quarter of a million Americans the opportunity to serve through programs like Teach for America and City Year.
Between the Dean College Commitment and the expansion of AmeriCorps, every American who wants to will be able to pursue a national service career without the fear of crushing loan payments.
"One of the greatest tragedies of the Bush administration has been their ability to destroy hope in this country. Americans have forgotten that there can be a better life, a better future, a better country than the one we have now. We cannot let this happen. We have always moved forward through the hope that is born of struggle and hardship. We can create our own opportunity in America again," Dean said.
"Opportunity makes all the difference. Today in America, one child out of five is born into poverty. What a country we would be if we refused to let that child die in poverty," Governor Dean said. "Ensuring that the dream of a college education and the ability to serve our country can be a reality for all of our children will go a long way toward ensuring opportunity for all."
Read the full plan here: http://images.deanforamerica.com/docs/highered.pdf
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