Monroe – Today, students and educators at the Monroe Federation of Teachers and School Employees office sounded the alarm against Congressman Bill Cassidy’s votes to cut more than $100 billion in Pell Grants and increase interest rates on student loans by $54 billion.

“Congressman Bill Cassidy wants to make it harder for my family and me to pay for school,” said Julie Jackson, a student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). “I don’t ever want to be in a position where I have to discontinue or take time off from my studies because I just can’t afford it.”

Cassidy’s votes come on the heels of drastic cuts of almost $700 million in Louisiana’s higher education budget. State college tuitions and associated expenses have climbed almost 40 percent in the last six years.

“Congressman Cassidy has a choice. He can either back proposals that hurt our state and our students’ ability to get a good education or actually support the future prospects of Louisianians back home by supporting Senator Landrieu’s ‘Passport to the Middle Class,’” said Dr. Joshua Stockley, a professor at ULM. “It is absolutely outrageous and short-sighted when politicians like Bill Cassidy favor policies that saddle college students with immense debt.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s “Passport to the Middle Class” initiative would increase the maximum Pell Grant award for students on college financial aid and allow students to refinance federal loans at a lower rate, benefiting nearly 600,000 Louisianians.

“I worry that Congressman Cassidy’s policies would make it harder for kids in our state to afford higher education, at a time when a young person’s future earnings are directly related to educational attainment,” said Sandy Lollie, a retired teacher and president of the Monroe Federation of Teachers. “Our children deserve a lot better.”

Julie Jackson, student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)

Julie Jackson, a student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), calls on Congressman Bill Cassidy to support legislation that would make college more affordable for Louisiana students and their families.