Campaign 2010

May 22, 2013

Congressman Davis Breaks His Promise On College Affordability

Less than a week after speaking at Millikin University for commencement, Congressman Rodney Davis still has no answers for Illinois families about why he broke his promise to improve access to Pell Grants, even as he readies for a vote this week that media reports show could raise student loan rates as high as 8.5 percent.

“Congressman Davis promised to increase access to Pell Grants and then when he got to Washington, he voted just the opposite,” said Brandon Lorenz of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Rather than sticking to his campaign promises, Congressman Davis decided to put partisan politics first and vote with his Washington leaders for a budget that means reduced access to Pell grants.”

Meanwhile, Davis is set to vote this week on a plan from his leaders that the Associated Press has reported could raise student loan rates as high as 8.5 percent.

Background:

2012: Candidate Davis Said He Would Vote Against Ryan Budget That Included Cuts To Pell Grants

In October 2012, Davis claimed he was in favor of ensuring availability of Pell grants to college students.  Davis added they were important in a district like his with several colleges and universities.  Davis said, “I’m in favor of ensuring Pell Grants are available for college students, especially in a district like this. You got 9 universities and colleges, Pell Grants are essential to ensuring their success and the student’s ability to have an affordable education.” [Post Debate Interview, 0:35, 10/17/12]

In 2012, The News-Gazette reported that “Davis also said he would ‘increase access to Pell Grants,’ adding that he ‘would not have supported the (Congressman Paul) Ryan budget’ that would slash funding for Pell Grants.  ‘I'm not going to support cuts in Pell Grants to students that attend these universities and colleges…”  [The News-Gazette, 11/01/12]

2013: Congressman Davis Backs Ryan Budget That Included Reduced Access To Pell Grants

In 2013, Davis voted for the extreme Republican budget for fiscal year 2014 that would end the Medicare guarantee – by converting the program into voucher-based system – and pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans on the backs of working families. The bill passed, 221-207. [HCR 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13]

Ryan Budget Freezes Pell Grants….

Ryan Budget Freezes Pell Grant Funding to Not Keep Pace With Inflation. According to an analysis of the Ryan budget conducted by Campus Progress: “Under the House Republican Budget, Pell Grants would be capped at the current level of $5,645 for 10 years, and eliminate all mandatory funding. In other words, under Ryan’s plan, Pell Grants would not keep up with the pace of inflation and rising tuition costs, and would be worth less each successive year. [Campus Progress, 3/12/13]

…and Cuts Pell Grant Eligibility

Ryan Budget Would Adjust the Pell Grant’s Needs Analysis Formula “Making Fewer Students Eligible.” According to an analysis of the Ryan budget conducted by Insider Higher Ed: “The budget also calls for reversing changes to the grant’s needs analysis formula put into place in 2007, which expanded the number of students eligible for Pell Grants, in essence making fewer students eligible to receive them. It also revisits proposals put forward last year: using “fair value” accounting for student loans, which makes the program seem much less profitable for the federal government than it does under current accounting rules.” [Inside Higher Ed, 3/13/13]

Davis Was The Keynote At The Millikin University Commencement. On May 17th 2013, the Herald & Review reported that Congressman Rodney Davis would be the keynote speaker Saturday at the Millikin University Commencement. [Herald & Review, 5/17/13; Millikin University Website, accessed, 5/22/13]

Under The House Republican Plan, Graduates Would Pay Almost $5,000 More In Student Loan Interest. The Associated Press reported: “In real dollars, the GOP plan would cost students and families heavily, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The office used the CBO projections for Treasury notes’ interest rates each year. Students who max out their subsidized Stafford loans over four years would pay $8,331 in interest payments under the Republican bill, and $3,450 if rates were kept at 3.4 percent. If rates were allowed to double in July, that amount would be $7,284 over the typical 10-year window to repay the maximum $19,000.” If the Republican plan were implemented, college graduates would pay $4,881 more in interest, compared to the current rate. [Associated Press, 5/16/13]

AP: House Republican Plan Would Raise Student Loan Interest Rate Caps to 8.5 Percent. According to the Associated Press: “Under the GOP proposal, student loans would be reset every year and based on 10-year Treasury notes, plus an added percentage. For instance, students who receive subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford student loans would pay the Treasury rate, plus 2.5 percentage points. Using Congressional Budget Office projections, that would translate to a 5 percent interest rate on Stafford loans in 2014, but the rate would climb to 7.7 percent for loans in 2023. Stafford loan rates would be capped at 8.5 percent, while loans for parents and graduate students would have a 10.5 percent ceiling under the GOP proposal. [Associated Press, 5/16/13]