WHEREAS, ever since the precedent setting GI Bill in 1944 and its expanded version in the National Defense Education Act of 1958, the United States has prided itself in providing financial assistance to students in need to ensure that there is an opportunity to gain a college education; and

WHEREAS, the Higher Education Act of 1965 formed the basis for the current student financial aid system which embodies the principle that all qualified students should be able to attend college, regardless of their financial means and without financial aid a majority of students would be unable to attend postsecondary education; and

WHEREAS, one of the best ways to advance the American ideals of progress and equality is through the access to postsecondary education; and

WHEREAS, a college education benefits not only the individual, but society as a whole and a highly educated work force has become an essential component of economic growth and competitiveness in our nation and our cities; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that increases in national education attainment have accounted for almost 30 percent growth in national income in the last century, because when the federal government helps students attend postsecondary education, it invests in our nationís and cities future; and

WHEREAS, in 2003-2004, nearly 10 million students received federal student aid from one or more programs (grants, loans, work study and tax credits) with an average award of around $6,000; and

WHEREAS, the variety of student financial aid programs created a package of assistance to students that includes Pell Grants, Work-Study, Stafford Loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans, Graduate Assistance Loans, GEAR UP and TRIO programs, and a variety of tax credit and tax deduction options based on income and enrollment in postsecondary education; and

WHEREAS, students who are citizens or are documented are only eligible to apply for these programs, NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the U.S. Conference of Mayors believes the policy of this nation should be that any student who graduates from a U.S. high school should be eligible to receive federal student financial aid and eligibility for this assistance should not be determined by oneís citizenship; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports increases in the appropriations for several student financial aid programs to better serve low-income and financial needy students and enable them to attend a postsecondary education institution because in this great nation no qualified student should be denied a postsecondary education solely due to lack of finances; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, some of the increases should include raising PELL Grants to $4,500, increasing SEOG to $1 billion, restoring the Perkins Loan program, increasing College Work-Study and continuing level support for TRIO and GEAR UP programs, because all of these assist students from cities in attending postsecondary education institutions that will provide them with additional skills to become better citizens and members of our future workforce.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352