Hare touts student loan reform in Knox visit

From the Register-Mail:

Congressman Phil Hare, D-Rock Island, spoke at Knox College on Friday about reforms to student loans that he believes will make it easier and more affordable to go to college.

The reforms were passed by Congress as part of the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Hare spoke enthusiastically in the Alumni Room at Old Main on the Knox campus Friday about the reforms, although no students were present at the meeting. A handful of Knox officials and members of the media were in attendance.

The new law invests $36 billion over 10 years to increase the maximum annual Pell Grant to $5,550 in 2010 and to $5,975 by 2017.

Karrie Heartlein, Knox’s director of public relations, said the increase in the Pell Grant will have a particular impact at Knox, where a large number of students are from low-income backgrounds.

The reforms will make federal loans more affordable, according to Hare, by investing $1.5 billion to strengthen an income-based repayment program that currently allows borrowers to cap their monthly federal student loan payments at 15 percent of their discretionary income.