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House OKs Katrina Student-Loan Relief

By Vaishali Honawar — September 20, 2005 1 min read
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Students forced to withdraw from colleges in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina might not have to worry about repaying their federal student loans or grant money, under two bills the House approved Sept. 7.

The Pell Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., and the Student Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., would allow the secretary of education to waive loan- and grant repayment requirements facing students who withdraw from a college closed before the end of a semester because of a natural disaster.

Under current law, students who receive federal grants and loans, as well as scholarships through programs for low-income students such as Gear Up and TRIO, must repay loans and grants if they leave school during the semester.

Meanwhile, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Sept. 9 passed its version of a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that would increase the maximum authorization for Pell Grants to $5,100 for fiscal 2006, and raise it to $6,300 over the next five years. The bill would also create two new grant programs for students from low-income families.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2005 edition of Education Week

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