Whether you’re learning your way around the campus or embracing your last year, I’ve always known Roadrunners to run events, engage with the community, and take on new adventures. I applaud your support for higher education because as the next generation of leaders; your commitment to civic involvement will be critical. We face tough challenges from those who oppose adequate student aid for higher education. I believe that an investment in you is also an investment in America’s future.

WORKING FOR YOU

Higher education offers a high return on every dollar of federal investment. So many social ills are linked with one’s ability to earn a college degree, such as poverty, difficulty accessing affordable housing, and finding a career that offers professional advancement. For students willing to work hard to obtain higher education, we must be willing to work hard to make it more affordable. The president of the United States has proposed a $9.2 billion dollar cut to education spending. That move, among his other budget cuts, would kill the federal government’s ability to subsidize interest on student loans, thereby adding thousands of dollars to the already exorbitant cost of college. His budget would also harm special education students. It is estimated that school districts receive about $4 billion in Medicaid reimbursements annually– funding that helps pay for health care professionals who serve special education students. The Trump budget would put that funding in jeopardy. Indeed – his appalling budget would cut most every education and social services initiative in San Antonio. I will continue to persist and resist against it. While we are in the Lone Star State, Trump’s budget truly leaves too many Texans alone.

MAKING PROGRESS

To make college more affordable for families, I have supported legislation limiting interest rates on federal loans and to provide more student Pell Grants. I also authored provisions in the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), allowing a tax cut of up to $10,000 on education expenses such as tuition, textbooks, and fees.

Despite this progress, many students, and their parents, are too discouraged by the price tag of college to even apply. Many that do apply find the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) too complicated to complete. This means they can lose access to available aid, and can mean the difference between attending a college of choice or attending college at all. I have therefore introduced the Equitable Student Aid Access Act. This makes the FAFSA available earlier, makes more students eligible for the full Pell Grant amount, and enables qualifying students to answer fewer questions to complete the already complicated form.

SUPPORTING STUDENT PARENTS

I also salute UTSA’s student-parents, who are determined to get the education to achieve their full potential and provide for their children’s future. I support parents’ efforts to obtain the child care access they need and denounce President Trump’s proposed elimination of the “Child Care Access Means Parents in School” program, a small federal effort that has assisted some Roadrunners with child care costs.

GET INVOLVED

Throughout your time at UTSA, I encourage you to get involved on campus or in your community and to share your stories on accessing higher education by emailing me at

lloyd. doggett@mail.house.gov. I also encourage students to get involved as interns in my San Antonio or Washington, D.C. offices. If you want to help me serve our community, please email your cover letter and resume to my San Antonio district director and UTSA alum maryellen.veliz@mail.house.gov. As you settle into your classrooms this school year, I too will be at my desk, hard at work, ensuring your priorities are my priorities. I welcome your good counsel.

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