June 11, 2010
Contact: Robin Burns,
Washington, D.C.— On June 10, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) awarded the Henry T. Yost Award to Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey. The Association honors selected members of Congress with the Yost award in recognition of their outstanding leadership on behalf of higher education.
In conferring the award, the AAUP's Committee on Government Relations highlighted Representative Payne’s longstanding commitment to enhancing the Pell Grant program, his important role in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and especially his leadership this spring in protecting student aid programs during the health care reform and budget reconciliation debate.
AAUP president Cary Nelson presented the award, commending Payne for his work on behalf of students and higher education. "Representative Payne recognizes the vital importance of a college education in today's world," stated Nelson.
As a senior member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Congressman Payne was instrumental in passing the historic Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA). Payne’s leadership in passing SAFRA will lead to increased access to affordable college education for American students and will build a world-class community college system – all at no cost to the taxpayers.
In discussing the future of federal student aid, Payne acknowledges that SAFRA will change the way the student loan system functions by originating all new loans through the government's Direct Loan program. But, he says, it will save jobs and maintain competition among private lenders and nonprofits to provide top-notch customer service for student borrowers. SAFRA benefits American workers as well as students and families. As Payne has said, “unlike loans made by banks, loans originated directly through the government must be serviced by workers in the United States. These reforms will make college loans more reliable for students and families and ensure that loans operate in the best interests of borrowers by reducing many of the potential conflicts of interest that exist in the current loan system.”
The Henry T. Yost Congressional Recognition Award was established in 1980 in honor of Henry (Tom) Yost, who served as the chair of the AAUP's Committee on Government Relations for a number of years and then as president of the Association. For more information about this award or these issues, visit the AAUP's government relations website.
The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom by supporting tenure, academic due process, shared governance, and standards of quality in higher education. The AAUP has over 47,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.