A bipartisan group of senators has unveiled a plan to overhaul the U.S. education system by requiring colleges to spend as much as 80 percent of their revenues on student aid.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeff Flake Jeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeHow Flake became a ‘state senator’ Flake: I was never a ‘no’ on Kavanaugh Flake: Graham ‘should be more careful’ about speaking with Trump on Gorsuch MORE (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Bob Corker Robert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLeft’s ‘big tent’ strategy for immigration, trade and other issues wins some GOP Senate endorsements Senate GOP eyes 2020 GOP Senate map in key statesMcConnell backs Kavanaugh, Pence as GOP seeks votes on Kavanaugh MORE (Tenn.), a senior member of the GOP leadership team, unveiled the “AACE Education Innovation Initiative” on Tuesday.
The senators have said they hope to have legislation ready for the 2018 midterm elections in two months.
Senators have long criticized the federal government’s failure to adequately fund higher education.
The new initiative seeks to streamline college and university funding by increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $5,000 per person, and by requiring the federal governments share the cost of higher education in tax breaks and other financial assistance.
Corker and Flake are working on a proposal that would expand the Pell Grant for Pell Grant recipients in states with large numbers of Pell Grant holders.
The legislation, if passed, would also allow for tuition waivers for students who don’t qualify for federal aid, which the administration has been trying to discourage by capping the maximum amount of aid for recipients at $5.5 million per year.
The two Republican senators, who are not members of the Senate GOP leadership, have made a point to criticize the federal budget deficit, which they said has been growing faster than inflation and is projected to hit $1.4 trillion by 2022.
They have argued that the country needs more tax cuts to offset the projected deficit.
The federal government already gives about half of all Pell Grant payments to low-income students.