Bridgeport, CT – Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) was joined by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to meet with juniors at Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School year to discuss the rising price of college, student loans and debt, and the College Affordability and Innovation Act, which Congressman Himes introduced in the House and Senator Murphy introduced in the Senate.


Over the last 30 years, the cost of a higher education has increased nearly 300 percent.  Student loan debt is one of the largest forms of personal debt held by Americans and more than 1 in 5 adults indicate that college costs are the biggest financial problem for their families.  The cost of higher education is straining finances, causing stress, and putting a college degree out of reach for many Americans.

“We have an obligation to provide a brighter and better America for young people,” said Himes. “This means making higher education a reality for everyone who wants it and is willing to put in the work. But it’s bad for the country if an entire generation is saddled with crushing student-loan debt, and when I talk to high school students it always at the very top of their concerns. This bill will start to rein in college costs by incentivizing innovative solutions.”

“The kids we met with today all want to go to college, but they are all worried that tuition will be too expensive to afford," said Murphy. "The legislation that Rep. Himes and I introduced will incentivize schools to create new, innovative programs to reduce the cost of school while improving the quality of the degree, and will set new standards for schools that receive federal funding so that they’re more accountable to students and taxpayers. The federal government needs to get serious about lowering the cost of college rather than simply making it easier for kids to borrow more money.”

The College Affordability and Innovation Act will:

Create a Pilot Program to Promote Innovation in Higher Education

·         The bill creates a new, evidence-based grant competition program to promote greater experimentation in delivering higher education to middle and low-income students. The grants will go to innovative programs designed to reduce the amount of classroom time and decrease the costs of completing higher education degrees, such as competency-based courses, online education, and dual-enrollment or fast-track programs.

Promote Higher Education Accountability

·         The bill creates an independent commission of stakeholders, including students, faculty, and education experts to develop minimum accountability standards for making college more affordable, providing better access for middle and low-income students, and providing value to students.