VA Congressional Members on Higher Ed Funding


Senator Mark Warner
“Warner remains committed to ensuring that every Virginian has access to the quality education and training needed to succeed in our global economy without the burden of crippling student debt. Having paid for his own undergraduate education with student loans, Senator Warner knows first-hand the financial challenges facing those who seek higher education. Senator Warner will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to make college more affordable and to help those who are already struggling with student debt. Senator Warner believes that if left unaddressed, student debt will be the next financial crisis facing our country. Senator Warner also knows that college isn’t the only path to success. He believes that we must increase our focus on industry certifications and lifelong learning and retraining in order to create more opportunities for good paying jobs for Virginians.”

Senator Tim Kaine
“Kaine believes that we must improve access to quality education if we want to prepare students and workers for success in the modern economy. He supports smart investments in education — from pre-kindergarten to college and workforce training — and has learned through years of experience in Virginia that no one path is right for everyone. Drawing from his years working in his dad’s ironworking shop and his experience teaching in Honduras, a key focus of Tim’s work in public service has been strengthening career and technical education (CTE) programs that teach students skills to succeed in high-demand, good-paying jobs.”


For more information about Senator Mark Warner and college affordability – go to this post. For more information about Senator Mark Warner and his positions and legislation on other issues – go to this post.

For more information about Senator Tim Kaine and his positions and legislation on other issues – go to this post.

Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act

The Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act will take the important step of tackling student loan debt on the front end by increasing financial literacy among prospective borrowers and empowering them to make better-informed decisions about their higher education financing. Current law only requires that institutions provide one-time entrance and exit counseling to student loan borrowers receiving federal student aid, excluding Parent PLUS loans and consolidation loans. This bill will promote financial literacy by requiring that federal student loan borrowers – both students and parents – receive annual counseling that reflects their individual borrowing situation; increasing awareness of accumulating financial obligations by requiring borrowers to consent each year before receiving federal student loans; requiring annual counseling for Pell Grant recipients; and directing the U.S. Secretary of Education to maintain and distribute an online counseling tool that institutions can use to provide the counseling required by the bill.

The Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act is being cosponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), by Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Tim Scott (R-SC). This legislation has the support of the National Education Association, Bipartisan Policy Center, UNCF, TICAS, Chiefs for Change, and American Student Assistance.  For more information on Senator Warner’s government website, go here.

Innovation Zone Act

The Innovation Zone Act, would rename experimental sites as “innovation zones” to better reflect the mission of the initiative. The bill would also require the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to establish a methodology for capturing data before an experiment begins, so colleges have clear direction in reporting data. It would also allow colleges the opportunity to submit suggestions for future experiments.

The legislation will improve and reform the experimental sites initiative by:

  • Expressly stating that experiments must increase student success.
  • Providing an opportunity for the public, institutions of higher education and other stakeholders to submit suggestions for experiments, and the Secretary must base selection on sufficient interest.
  • Specifying the length of a given experiment before it begins.
  • Requiring the data collection methodology, rigorous evaluation methods, estimated cost, and answerable questions to be established before launching an experiment.
  • Requiring the Secretary to report on the status of experiments every two years that will be published on the Department’s website.
  • Requiring a review of existing experiments.
  • Renaming experimental site as an innovation zones to better reflect the purpose of the title.

For more information on Tim Kaine’s government website, go here.


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