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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 7, 1998
                The Higher Education Amendments of 1998:
           Five Victories for the Clinton-Gore Administration
                            October 7, 1998

Today, President Clinton is signing into law five major new initiatives that he proposed, along with other important provisions extending the Higher Education Act. The new initiatives will:

          slash the student loan interest rate
          help disadvantaged children prepare for college
          improve teacher preparation and recruitment
          promote high-quality distance education
          create a new model for efficient government

The Higher Education Act, originally enacted in 1965, authorizes many of the Federal government's programs to increase access to college, including Pell Grants, student loans, and Federal Work-Study, as well as programs to improve teacher training and promote innovation. The Act is reviewed every five years. In response to the Administration's requests, this year the reauthorization:


Proposal: "We are proposing improvements in the student loan program

      that will lower the cost of college for millions of students and 
      their families while preserving their access to the loans they 
      need." [Vice President Gore, Press Briefing, February 25, 1998]

Result: As proposed by the President and Vice President, the

      legislation extends for 5 years the new low student interest 
      rate on new college loans, now 7.46% instead of 8.25%, saving 
      students $11 billion on loans made over the next five years.  The 
      typical student borrower at a 4-year college, who graduates with 
      $13,000 in debt, will save about $700 over a ten-year repayment 
      period.  Borrowers have four months to refinance their 
      outstanding loans at the new rate.  The Administration continues 
      to oppose the excessive payments to lenders and intermediaries 
      included in the bill, and supports extending the refinancing 
      window beyond the four month period.


Proposal: "I also ask this Congress to support our efforts to enlist

      colleges and universities to reach out to disadvantaged children,
      starting in the 6th grade, so that they can get the guidance and 
      hope they need so they can know that they, too, will be able to 
      go on to college." [President Clinton, State of the Union 
      Address, January 27, 1998]

Result: The legislation launches a new national effort,

      incorporating the President's High Hopes for College initiative, 
      to help disadvantaged students prepare for college.  Called GEAR 
      UP, this program provides competitive grants to colleges that 
      partner with high-poverty middle schools and the community to 
      tell families early about the financial aid that is available for 
      college, and then to provide long-term mentoring, tutoring, and 
      other assistance to make the dream of college a reality.  Grants
      are also provided to states to encourage broad efforts to provide 
      early information and counseling about college opportunities.


Proposal: "I will forward to the Congress a proposal for a new national

      effort to attract quality teachers to high-poverty communities by
      offering scholarships for those who will commit to teach in those
      communities for at least three years. . . Our proposal also 
      includes funds to strengthen teacher preparation programs so that 
      those who go into teaching are better prepared to teach their 
      students." [President Clinton, NAACP National Convention, 
      July 17, 1997]

Result: The legislation includes the Administration's proposals,

      and more: Improves teacher preparation through grants to 
      partnerships -- modeled after the Administration's proposed 
      Lighthouse Partnerships -- between teacher education institutions 
      and school districts to produce teachers who have strong teaching 
      skills, are highly competent in the academic content areas in 
      which they plan to teach, and know how to use technology as a 
      tool for teaching and learning.

      Recruits additional teachers for high-need areas through the
      Administration's proposed grants to partnerships between 
      high-quality teacher education programs and local schools to 
      offer scholarships, support, and services to recruit and prepare
      teachers to serve for at least three years in high-need schools.

      Supports state-level efforts to improve teacher quality 
      through State Teacher Quality Enhancement grants to strengthen 
      state teacher certification standards, create alternative 
      pathways into teaching, hold higher education institutions 
      accountable for the quality of teachers they prepare, and recruit 
      high-quality teachers.

      Strengthens accountability in teacher education by requiring
      that states and teacher education institutions report on teacher 
      preparation, including their students' performance on teacher 
      licensing exams.

      Forgives up to $5,000 in loans for those who teach for five 
      years in a low-income community.


Proposal: "Valuable technologies also are important for providing

      opportunities in higher education at a time when college is 
      becoming ever more crucial. . . .This is why [we] proposed a 
      number of changes to the Higher Education Act that will broaden 
      learning opportunities." [Secretary Riley, U.S. Distance Learning 
      Association National Conference, November 5, 1997]

Result: The bill includes the Administration's Learning Anytime

      Anywhere Partnership (LAAP) initiative, and expands student 
      aid eligibility for distance learners.  LAAP awards 
      competitive grants to partnerships between schools and other 
      entities to:  create new distance learning models, explore 
      the efficiencies and cost reductions possible through 
      institutional partnerships, and develop innovative measures 
      of student achievement in distance education.  The 
      legislation also expands student aid eligibility for distance 
      learners, a goal proposed by the Administration, through 
      demonstration programs that waive some student aid 
      restrictions to allow more non-traditional students to obtain
      higher education, including full-time workers, parents, 
      people in rural areas, and people with disabilities.


Proposal: "We're going to dramatically change the way many agencies

      provide their services. Today, I'm proposing to create within 
      existing departments something we call "Performance-based 
      Organizations.". . . These PBOs would be run by chief executives 
      who sign contracts and will be personally accountable for 
      delivering results. . . Their pay and job security will be tied 
      directly to performance." [Vice President Gore, National Press 
      Club, March 4, 1996]

Result: The bill creates the federal government's first-ever PBO, a

      concept promoted by the Reinventing Government effort spearheaded 
      by the Vice President.  The delivery of Federal student aid -- 
      loans, grants, work-study and other assistance -- will be led by 
      an executive with expertise in information technology and 
      experience with financial systems, who reports directly to the 
      Secretary and has new administrative flexibility in exchange for 
      increased accountability for results.  The Secretary will 
      continue to be responsible for setting student aid policy.