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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 29, 1998


I am delighted that the Senate today passed the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. This legislation marks an important step forward in my effort to help more Americans enter the doors of college. In today's global economy, what you earn depends on what you learn. This bill will make it easier for millions of Americans to get the higher education they need to succeed in the global economy. It also demonstrates how we can make progress on education policy when we choose bipartisan cooperation over division.

By adopting the new low interest rate for student loans we proposed last winter, this bill will save American students and their families billions of dollars in interest payments. But this bill does much more to help all Americans go to college. It responds to the challenge I issued in the State of the Union to create a "High Hopes" initiative, where colleges reach down to middle school students in high-poverty areas to give them the support they need to be ready for higher education; incorporates our ideas on recruiting and training top-notch teachers for our public schools; builds on our efforts to deploy cutting-edge technology so that our students can learn anytime, anywhere; and modernizes the delivery of student aid by creating the government's first-ever Performance Based Organization, a recommendation made by the Vice President's National Performance Review.

I look forward to signing this bill into law, and I urge Congress to provide the accompanying funding for these new critical initiatives so that they can work effectively to give America's students the quality education they deserve.