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NFA PAC announces federal endorsements

14 Sep 2012 7:11 AM | Anonymous
The NFA Political Action Committee is a state entity, but it can and regularly does make endorsements in federal races when there is a clear choice on higher education issues. This year, the NFA endorses the following candidates.

Barack Obama for President. The Obama administration has made college affordability and national investment in higher education a priority since it entered office. The American Recovery and Revitalization Act of 2009 included hundreds of millions of dollars in federal support for public higher education in Nevada, which helped cushion the blow of the Great Recession on our students and institutions. Then, in March 2010, the president supported and signed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which redirected about $6 billion per year from subsidies to commercial banks to subsidize student loans into direct lending and into Pell Grants, which put students ahead of banks. This bill also included important reforms of student loans, limiting repayment in any given year to 10 percent of personal income, and forgiveness of debt remaining after 20 years of ontime payments (10 years in the case of public service workers). The administration has also been strongly supportive of community college students, with tax credits to offset tuition for retraining.

Perhaps even more importantly, the Obama administration has stressed educational quality by imposing rules that require institutions eligible for student loans and federal aid to document that they prepare their students for "gainful employment" and that a sufficient share of their students are able to repay their student loans – thereby cutting down on the predatory practices of for-profit colleges which have become notorious for recruiting under-qualified students to receive federal loans, but providing no valuable education or job training.

The Obama Department of Education also has strongly supported the college completion agenda, which has guided the System in the development of its new funding formula.

In a second term, President Obama has proposed a new fund to support innovation in higher education, while also proposing to tie federal financial aid to limits on tuition increases. As an organization committed to quality public higher education and the faculty who deliver it, NFA is proud to endorse Barack Obama for re-election.

Shelley Berkeley for Senate. Former regent and longtime supporter of the Nevada System of Higher Education and NFA, Congresswoman Shelley Berkeley has a record of working to keep college affordable and to support, in particular, veterans seeking to return to college merits our endorsement.

CD-1: Dina Titus for Congress. During her prior term in congress, longtime University of Nevada, Las Vegas, faculty member and NFA member Dina Titus showed her commitment not only to our issues but to us as constituents, and we enthusiastically back her campaign to return to congress.

CD-3: John Oceguera for Congress. The former Nevada State Assembly Speaker and a former student of no fewer than four NSHE campuses, Oceguera has taken positions in support of the president's agenda for college affordability and degree completion.

CD-4: Steven Horsford for Congress. As Nevada Senate Majority Leader, Horsford showed himself to be a passionate, articulate and deeply intelligent advocate for students and for quality public higher education. He took the lead in 2011 in the successful campaign to reduce the deep cuts to NSHE that had been proposed by Governor Brian Sandoval. This year, he brought clear thinking, careful management and a shrewd eye for detail as chair of the most important state level discussion of higher education policy in a generation, the interim legislative funding formula study committee. Throughout that process, he repeatedly sought out input from faculty across the state, and in his campaign he has made a priority of advocating for college access and affordability. Even if his opponent had not taken the extreme position of calling for the abolition of the federal Department of Education – and with it all federal financial aid (which is the case) – Steven Horsford would still be the clear choice for Nevada's new fourth congressional seat.

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