Education is a cornerstone of democracy. Throughout my time in Congress, I fought for and supported measures to improve public schools and make higher education more affordable for all. While our education system is largely under local control, I am committed to finding the proper balance between the states and federal government, to encourage equality and opportunity. I strongly believe that no matter a person’s income or zip code, access to an excellent education should be a right.
As a member of Congress, I was proud to help increase the maximum Pell award from $4,731 in 2008 to $5,550 today. Pell grants have provided over $35.7 billion to almost 10 million undergraduate students in 2011.
We made our education spending go further by ending subsidies for banks that act as middlemen for federal student loans.
I was also proud to support a tax credit that provides up to $2,500 per year – that’s $10,000 over four years – to help students and their families pay for tuition, fees and books. An estimated 9.4 million families are expected to claim this tax credit for 2011.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
While I appreciate the intent of No Child Left Behind, the time has come to improve the law. I support fixing NCLB in a way that balances accountability and flexibility. We must have measures that truly capture achievement gaps and evaluate teachers fairly. I support multiple assessment measures to form a broad view of student learning and programs which give teachers and administrators opportunities for professional development, training, and collaboration.
While NCLB intended to guarantee the success of all students, it focused too narrowly on standardized testing and today discrepancies in achievement still exist. I am deeply concerned by the number of African-American and Latino students falling through the cracks. In order to accomplish any of the reforms that we seek, we must commit to investing in education. We cannot demand more from our schools while providing them with less. Meaningful reform will include teachers, administrators, and parents in this essential dialogue. We must respect their authority in their children’s and students’ lives.
Higher Education/Pell Grants/Financial Aid
I have always believed in the importance of higher education and have fought to make it more affordable. In the Democratic-led 111th Congress, I was proud to cosponsor the College Cost Reduction Act that helped to make higher education more affordable. This legislation was the single largest investment enacted in over 60 years to help students pay for college. I continue to advocate for increased funding for the Pell Grant program and financial aid reforms. As our economy continues to shift, a college degree is more important than ever before. Even in these difficult financial times, no qualified student should be turned away because of his or her inability to pay. We must work to ensure that our institutions of higher learning are accessible to all of our young people.
For information regarding student financial aid please visit my Student Information page.
More on Education
Update: April 2, 2020
The CARES Act, which passed Congress and became law last week, requires the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, principal, and interest for six months, through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans. This provides relief for over 95 percent of student loan borrowers.
Updated: March 15, 2020
Colleges and universities in Metro Atlanta and across Georgia have cancelled in-person classes and moved to virtual classes.
Please contact your institution for specific information about how you might be affected, including how questions about course requirements, student health resources, distance learning technology, housing, and meal plans.
Update: April 2, 2020
Yesterday, the State of Georgia cancelled K-12 classes through the rest of the year. Local districts are continuing instruction, so please remain in touch with your child’s school district for updated information. Please be sure to contact your child’s school for more information about specific tools available to you.
Update: April 2, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Representative John Lewis (GA) introduced H.R. 5806, the HIV Epidemic Loan-Repayment Program (HELP) Act. This legislation would support existing health care professionals and encourage those who aspire to support those living with HIV/AIDS.
Georgia's 5th Congressional District
Invites you to attend
Military Service Academy Forum
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Georgia Power Auditorium
241 Ralph McGill Blvd NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made the following statement today upon introduction of the Higher Education Dream Act (H.R.6525), his bill to prohibit discrimination against Dreamer students in higher education.
“Young people are our nation’s future, and we must allow them every chance to succeed. The Higher Education Dream Act will ensure our colleges and universities reflect the United States’ commitment to justice and equality.
WASHINGTON — Today, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) – joined by Morehouse graduates Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) – introduced a bipartisan resolution honoring the 150th anniversary of the founding of Morehouse College. The text of the resolution can be found here. Rep. Lewis made this statement:
WASHINGTON — Today, the House Ways and Means Committee reconvened to continue markup of irresponsible H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The committee considered eight amendments offered by Democrats. Republicans voted down amendments that would have helped the middle class by extending the child tax credit, encouraging employers to hire veterans, reinstating the adoption tax credit, and taxing corporations at the same rate domestically and abroad. They voted against the middle class. They voted against what is best for America.