tv Hearing on Expanding Access to Higher Education - Part 1 CSPAN September 4, 2021 1:05pm-1:26pm EDT
buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> up next, a house panel examines the affordability and access to higher education. education advocates testify about barriers, college affordability, and higher education alternatives. the ways and means subcommittee hearing was held online earlier this summer. i called to order the subcommittee on oversight. thank you for joining us today. i hate doing this impersonally. blame me. the fact of the matter is -- the last time we were in person -- i
read your bios a couple times. in an issue that is very important to americans, expanding access to higher education, and the promise holds, i believe that his engine for the next recovery. we are holding this year and virtually. i want to remind members -- this hearing virtually. i want to remind members. somebody will take my place when i go back for votes. we will keep microphones muted to limit background noise. members are responsible for on muting themselves when they seek
recognition or when recognized for their five minutes. when members are present and sitting they must other cameras on. if you need to step away to go to another procedure about, please turn your camera and audio off. we can dispense with the practice -- order of superiority -- seniority for questioning. we will alternate between majority and minority come with other members joined us today. finally, without objection, representative evidence is authorized to serve as chair in the event i need to step away. i thank you for your continued patience as we navigate these procedures. and continue serving our country together. with that, i will turn to the
entire -- important topic of today's hearing. expanding access to higher education adds promises. today, the subcommittee on oversight will examine an important topic, access to and portability of higher ad. study after study has documented how higher education helps americans get good paying jobs, support and comfortably raise a family. higher education is a gift for the middle class, many young people, especially those of color and from low income backgrounds face significant barriers to higher education. those barriers may have multiplied during the pandemic. our bill to give that forgiveness tax-free through 2025's to the american rescue plan -- how else we can help
students. we are partnering with students most need to made. -- enable students, especially those in of lower income to access higher education. a demonstration of college graduates -- privileged to have -- student loan debt is $1.7 trillion. the average debt for americans is $38,000. this includes -- this precludes raising graduates from buying homes, starting families, moving into the middle class. it is a challenge of our time. [indiscernible] as we return to normalcy, new
burdens have been placed on institutions of higher learning -- online learning. we need to explore how we can utter affect our institutions, including our ability to perform an affordable education to all students. we will hear about that from our witnesses. [indiscernible] like all experts in these matters, i think them for their time and look forward to their testimony. i yield five minutes to my friend the ranking member for his five-man -- for his opening statement. >> thank you for holding this hearing today. republicans of long supported efforts to make sure americans ball backgrounds have the
opportunity to advance himself. higher education. in 2015, republicans supported making the american opportunity tax credit. publicans also support the importance of the lifetime learning credit. recently, republicans and democrats on this committee came together to pass a package of retirement bills that includes an innovative education provision. this provision, which we hope will become law will reduce student loan debt. it will allow employers to make matching contributions into an employee's 401(k) based on the employees payment of student loan balances. just last week we introduced a bipartisan legislation called the tax-free -- act. this would ask band the usage of pell grant side tax-free basis and insured students not these any benefits of existing tax credits. many americans make the decision between paying down student loan debt and saving for merriment.
this legislation would help workers to both. when it comes to other things congress can do to reduce barriers to higher education, we should focus on providing a way for americans to advance themselves. whether someone pursues a four-year college degree, two year associates degree, and apprenticeship or some other form of professional training. we need to make americans where they are. we need to sport choices like stability so americans can obtain educational advances without having to put their lives on hold for four years. the answer is not free college for everyone or widespread student debt cancellation. studies show these actions will not solve the challenges many americans face. we have a lot of ground for immigration -- innovation. i hope we can work together on these issues, mr. chairman. i'm looking forward to hearing
from all are witnesses, but especially from the president of western governors university. scott will be able to share with the subcommittee the many innovative things going on at wg you. it strives to provide affordable, high-value degrees to underserved minorities. it is an online only university that uses a competency-based on-demand approach to higher education. this means students have the flexibility to learn and advance through at their own pace, in a way that fits the demands of their life. wg you's approach has lowered barriers to those seeking a pause degree across our country. we can learn from them. gamestop for being here and all of our witnesses. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> we are next born here --
thank you tour distinguished witnesses for taking the time to be before stinky date to discuss this important issue. i want to introduce our witnesses. without objection, all members opening statements will be made part of the record. our first witness, dr. marshall anthony, is a senior analyst that focuses on the higher education policy. our next witness, dr. susan johnston. she is the president and chief executive officer of the national association of college and university business loans. our third witness is dr. steven -- he is the president of the percent carried community college, located in my congressional district. our fifth witness is dr. -- a
professional public policy at the university of michigan. our final witness is dr. scott pulsifer, the president of western governors university. each of your statements will be made part of the statement in its entirety. i've asked that you summarize your testimony in five minutes. to help you with the time, keep and i on the clock that should already be pinned to your screen . if you do go over your time i will notify you. dr. anthony, you may begin. >> chairperson, ranking member, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. ip before you as a researcher on higher education, but i have also lived the failure of the higher education system. as a young black man from a
single-parent household -- low income single-parent household, i received the maximum pell grant but did not have enough financial aid to cover other necessities such as housing, food, textbooks, transportation. when i should've been sleeping, i spent countless hours worrying about expensive porous materials we were required to purchase, canceling my meal plan to pay for gas to get to campus and participate in an internship. through hard work and deal great fortune i made before you today. in many black, brown, low income
and students with disabilities never make it to the stage to collect the diploma. a large portion of college students today are working adults attending college part-time and raising children. like some of my family, classmates and students -- they make demands that would strike you and i is nearly impossible in the desire to give their families a better life. never has a college degree been more necessary to make it in this country. nearly two thirds of jobs require some form of postsecondary education, yet our higher education system is not equipped to do its job. consider these troubling facts. the pell grant is not what it used to be. hell is the cornerstone federal aid program for students from low income background, like myself to help pay for college.
tell used to cover nearly 80% public four-year institution. today, the maximum amount covers less than one third of the average cost of tuition, fees, room and board. if you think students today can still work their way through college, it is a scam. in 48 states, low income students need to work within 15 hours a week to pay for a public four-year education. -- more than 15 hours a week to pay for public four-year education. community colleges do not have the -- they need to adequately serve low-income students as well as black and latinx students more likely to attend community college. prior to the pandemic, they were already in trouble.
only 18% said fully recovered from cuts made in the wake of the great recession. these are just a few of the reasons why so many students leave college with no degree and that they cannot repay. black borrowers like myself, were hard hit by employment discrimination have nearly 10 times less wealth than white families are most likely to suffer. the system has failed, too many students. the ability to graduate cannot be dependent upon a student such as myself having good fortune, if you want to call it that. we perpetuated a system where the unfortunate reality has been a reality for far too long. the united states can and should do better. i ask you today to reinvest in an equitable american dream.
a better supporting college students, limiting that and investing in community colleges and public four-year institutions in order to build a higher education system that actually works for people from all walks of life. thank you again for the opportunity to testify, i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. dr. johnston, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman, ranking member, thank you for inviting me to be part of this sharing today. i am susan johnston, president of a professional organization that serves financial officers from colleges and universities across the country. in march 2020, when the potential impact of the pandemic
was becoming clear, we strive to ensure that despite this presence, any student who wanted to continue their higher education studies could do so, i know college would fail because of the crisis. to that end, the pandemic relief legislation passed by congress is made a meaningful impact. i want to thank the subcommittee and your fellow lawmakers for recommended dust recognizing and responding to the urgent crisis faced by the higher education sector, which educates more than 16 million undergraduate students and is among the top 10 largest employers in 40 states. without this legislation, or students would have had to pause or abandon their studies and across the country we would have seen divert institution budget cuts that would have meant or loss of jobs, shuttering the programs, fewer resources for student support, financial or otherwise. colleges face substantial costs that do not abate, even during a
global pandemic. even when most students were taking classes remotely, colleges and universities had to maintain facilities, pay faculty and staff, continue offering services to students and more. they also faced significant new expenses related to testing, cleaning, and social distancing and unplanned technology investments from software licenses and training to improved internet access for students, faculty and staff. as our nation psycho colleges and universities are preparing for fall 2021 -- as our nation's colleges and universities are preparing for fall 2021, we are seeing the same in higher education sector. fermenting, the pandemic amplified and already downward trend relating to changing demographics and original population shift. among many community colleges, small private colleges and
regional public universities, there is concern that fall 2021 enrollment and implication for staffing and budgeting. all institutions and their leaders remain steadfastly committed to their educational missions and the indispensable lifelong value of education. in the wake of the bobo health crisis, the outcomes realized by those with postsecondary credentials are in stark contrast to those without. as the pandemic put pressure on employment across many industries, individuals with higher levels of education were more likely to be employed. individuals with a high school education or less faced and 19.2% unemployment rate in april 2020 compared to an 8.5% unemployment rate among those with bachelors degrees or higher. this dividend of higher education, along with others should be available to more people and colleges and universities are contributing to
people -- keeping college affordable and accessible despite the high and increasing because they bear to offer a high quality educational experience. we see this repeatedly in our research. in 2020, the tiaa study found that the 730 participating institutions but more than $23.3 million from their endowments come up with about 49% of funds going directly to student financial aid. our tuition discounting study showed that in the last academic year, nearly 90% of first-year undergraduates received institutional financial aid, a covered more than half their tuition and fees on average. beyond these examples, several policies to be strengthened so they are working together to aid students with the cost of college.
for example, charitable giving should be encouraged. policies that discourage giving and take charitable resources away from education, like the taxes on net investment income should be reversed. federal tax credits for lower the cost of college should be improved. we urge congress to increase the value of the pell grant, the cornerstone of our country's investment in higher education to ensure more students can access college in the first place. colleges and universities and lawmakers, as well as charitable organizations, families and employers must continue making the investments necessary to make college more affordable so we can achieve a more educated and inclusive populace. we appreciate the subcommittee's interest in expanding college access and increasing affordability some more students experience the lifelong benefits college degrees offer. thank you for including me in this conversation. >>