Improving Education, College Affordability and Safety
Senator Lautenberg knows that education is a primary key to success. He is the product of New Jersey's public schools and credits his careers in business and public service on that education and the opportunity to get a first-rate college education through the G.I. bill.
Simply put, making sure children in New Jersey and across the country have access to a good education should be one of our top priorities in Congress. Senator Lautenberg is dedicated to a strong early education system for young children. That is why he has worked so hard to increase the availability of programs such as Early Head Start and Head Start, and cosponsored legislation to reauthorize, strengthen and increase funding for these programs. And because Senator Lautenberg feels there is no substitute for a thriving public education system, he is consistently fighting to support our public schools and our nation's teachers. Senator Lautenberg is committed to reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act so local schools have more flexibility in determining how to prepare students for the challenges ahead.
Senator Lautenberg serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. In that capacity, he has pressed Congress to help communities get the funding they need to expand afterschool programs, decrease class sizes, and improve special education. He also coauthored a 2007 law, the America COMPETES Act, which increases the nation's investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development and will strengthen educational opportunities in these areas from elementary school through graduate school.
Senator Lautenberg is dedicated to improving child development outside of the classroom as well. In 1992, he wrote the law authorizing the first federal program to provide mentoring services for at-risk youth. This year, he introduced the Juvenile Mentoring Program Act, or the JUMP Act, which would reinstate the Juvenile Mentoring Program and provide funding to state and local educational agencies, as well as national, regional, and local non-profit organizations, to implement and operate mentoring programs geared towards at-risk children.
College Affordability and Safety
People with a college degree earn seventy percent more than those who don't graduate from college. Unfortunately, college is too expensive for many families. That is why Senator Lautenberg helped enact a law earlier this year to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,975 by 2017 and cap a borrower's monthly student loan payments at 10 percent of their income. The State of New Jersey is expected to receive an additional $762 million in education funding over the next ten years as a result of this law.
On behalf of our brave men and women in the military, Senator Lautenberg was a primary author of the new 21st Century GI Bill, enacted in 2008, to update and improve the GI bill program, which had not kept pace with the rising cost of college, so that soldiers who have served since 9/11 can access first-rate education benefits.
In addition, Senator Lautenberg is working to make college campuses safer for students. Responding to a tragic dormitory fire at Seton Hall University that killed three students and injured more than 50 others, he wrote the Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know law, which gives students and families information about the fire safety records of colleges and universities. Before this law, colleges and universities--which were required to release only crime statistics--did not have to make fire-related statistics available. He has also introduced the Campus Fire Safety Education Act, which would increase fire safety awareness among college students and help improve their fire training.