WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 3179, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. This legislation works to make students financially aware by improving the timing and frequency of loan counseling so they can make smart decisions when it comes to paying for their higher education. As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) released the following statement:
“Acceptance into college is one of life’s greatest achievements. This feeling of achievement can be short-lived when you realize just how much your dream school can cost you. Even though a number of students receive scholarships in their financial aid packages and work while earning their degree, that is not always enough to cover growing costs. Currently there is over $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and the average undergraduate debt is around $35,000 upon graduation. Knowing these statistics and the negative effects vast debt can have on those just starting out, we must ensure that all students embarking on higher education are fully informed of the debt they are taking on and encourage them to explore ways to pay for college other than incurring debt. That is why I am so pleased to see this legislation pass the House in a bipartisan manner.
This bill provides annual financial counseling to those who accept financial aid annually throughout their college careers so they are fully aware of the commitment they are making. Additionally, it provides exit counseling for students to help those who have already received federal aid make wise decisions upon graduation. Ensuring our students have the tools they need to be financially aware and make smart choices when it comes to their education is crucial. Knowledge is power, and informing students will help empower their futures.”