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Public Papers - 1992

Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Lifelong Learning

1992-05-14

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit today for your immediate consideration and enactment the ``Lifelong Learning Act of 1992.'' Also transmitted is a section-by-section analysis.

This legislation would provide to all Americans, including working men and women and the unemployed, access to grant and loan help throughout their lives that is not now available. This additional help would make it possible for more Americans to further their education and increase their job skills and productivity.

Enactment of this legislation would help move America forward in achieving National Education Goal Five: ``Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.''

This legislation would:

Extend eligibility for Pell Grants and the three Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) programs to students studying less than half-time. Providing grant and loan assistance to individuals taking as little as one course at a time offers American men and women the flexibility they need to improve their employment skills while recognizing their commitments to jobs and families. This program would extend loan eligibility to individuals who are enrolled in non-degree granting education and training programs and who are taking only one course at a time. These individuals have a legitimate need for skill enhancement and training that is not being met under existing loan programs. For example, a working mother in a low-wage job could receive financial assistance for courses that would qualify her for better paying, high-skilled jobs.

Extend new opportunities for education and training to all U.S. citizens. Additional student loan eligibility would be available for full- or part-time students. The Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) would be authorized to originate up to ,000 in loans, in addition to current GSL loan limits, through the Lifelong Learning Line of Credit for those borrowers who want the option of repaying loans on a basis tied to their actual income. The concept of basing student loan repayment on a borrower's future earnings has long been attractive to the Administration and to many in the Congress. However, a program of this type presents unique and complex design issues that demand careful analysis and structuring. This Act would call upon Sallie Mae, a leader in student loan administration, to offer 0 million per year in loans and to work with the Secretary of Education to devise actuarially and fiscally sound loan options that would be widely available.

Explore the use of high-quality education and training programs offered by non-school based providers. The Secretaries of Education and Labor would be authorized to develop regulations under which students attending programs offered by nontraditional types of providers could be eligible for the Lifelong Learning Line of Credit. Community-based organizations, public or private agencies, and private employers are some examples of the types of providers that might participate. These providers could participate only if the high quality of the programs could be ensured and if these funds do not replace funds already being spent for this training.

I believe that all Americans should have an opportunity to pursue education and training throughout their lives. I look forward to working with the Congress on this legislation and welcome your recommendations on how this legislation can best secure this opportunity for all Americans.

I urge the Congress to give the Lifelong Learning Act of 1992 prompt and favorable consideration.

George Bush

The White House

May 14, 1992.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091