Henry Cuellar



Education is an investment in the future of our children and nation. By providing the necessary resources, such as student aid or school construction funds, our school children and students will be afforded the right education to succeed and become well-rounded individuals. Congressman Cuellar is committed to ensuring schools, teachers, students, and education is invested in today for the future of America.

As the most degreed Member of Congress, Congressman Cuellar has continued his strong support for the education community – ensuring accessible educational funds for schools, protecting low income and at risk students, and a supporter of making college more affordable to create a thriving, highly-skilled, 21st century workforce ready for the rigors of a competitive marketplace. Education is the foundation on which our economy and democracy rest. In order to fuel economic growth and lower the unemployment rate, we need to support our children’s future, while generating a thriving workforce that is globally competitive. In these difficult economic times, we need to invest in our schools to accelerate the nation.

Investing in education:

In August 2011, a debt ceiling compromise was passed to avoid defaulting on our nation’s debt. The compromise avoided cutbacks in student assistance. The compromise included a total of $17 billion in Pell grant funding over the next two years ($10 billion for fiscal year 2012 and $7 billion for fiscal year 2013), intended to help ensure that the maximum Pell grant award will remain at $5,550 for the 2012-2013 academic year.  The final decision on that maximum award will be made in the 2012 appropriations process.  

Further, the legislation included two student loan provisions that saved a total of $21.6 billion over the next 10 years. 

-          First, the legislation eliminated graduate students’ eligibility for subsidized student loans, where the government pays the interest on a loan while in school for graduate students meeting financial needs tests.  This provision becomes effective in July 2012. Graduate students will still be eligible for unsubsidized student loans, which carry the same interest rate of 6.8 percent; however, the interest on the loan would now accrue while the graduate student is still in school.  This proposal was included in President Obama’s budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2012. 

-          Second, the legislation also eliminated the Secretary of Education’s authority to provide repayment incentives for Direct Loan borrowers.  Currently the Direct Loan program provides an up-front rebate on half of the origination fee for borrowers (0.5% for undergraduates and 1.5% for graduate students and parents), and the rebate does not need to be repaid if the borrower makes 12 on-time payments.  The legislation ends this benefit, as well as the potential for future repayment incentives, for new loans beginning in July 2012.

In the 111th Congress, the single largest investment in aid to help students and families pay for college was including in the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. This was supported by Congressman Cuellar and became law.

-          It invests $36 billion over the decade to increase the maximum annual Pell Grant scholarship to $5,550 in 2010 to $5,975 by 2017. This ensures reliable, high-quality Federal student loans for all families.

Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved and created jobs, while investing in education to propel the economy forward. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by September 2010, as many as 3.6 million more American workers had jobs.

-          The legislation provided $53.6 billion to help states prevent cutbacks, layoffs, and modernize schools;

-          $13 billion in Title I funds;

-          $2.1 billion for Headstart, which provides comprehensive development services for low-income preschool children;

-          Allowed 124,000 additional children to attend Head Start and Early Head Start;

-          A new $2,500 tuition tax credit to help 4 million students and families pay for college;

-          Almost $4 billion for job training programs.

Saving Teacher’s jobs:

Teachers are vital to students’ growth intellectually and development in school. It is crucial to keep funding to allow the appropriate ratio of students to teachers prevents class size overload that allows more one-on-one interaction with the student and teacher.

The House passed the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act on August 10, 2010 to save or create 319,000 American jobs in local communities, including 161,000 teacher jobs, and also to discourage American corporations from shipping jobs overseas. The measure, which was signed into law on August 10, 2010, includes $10 billion to save teacher jobs and $16.1 billion in health assistance to the states. The funding will also keep police officers and firefighters on the job, at no cost to taxpayers.

H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act provides an estimated $830 million in federal funds for Texas to help save thousands of jobs for teachers and educators.

- This bill sends critical education dollars to Texas estimated to save 13,400 jobs in Texas Education.

- Of the $830 million, it is estimated to bring $66.4 million to TX-28 school districts and over 900 K-12 jobs.

- This is funding that schools can use right away to keep teachers on staff, prevent class size overload, and give students the instruction they need to learn, graduate, and pursue their dreams.

Improving Child Nutrition:

Every child needs access to a healthy start—not only for the health of the child, but for the health of our community as well. This bill allows us to start reversing the trajectory of childhood obesity and hunger and address the urgent needs of our youngest and most vulnerable population.

President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) into law on December 13, 2010 after the House passed it on December 2, 2010 by a vote of 264-157.

The law made historic and urgent improvements to the nation’s federal child nutrition programs by dramatically improving the quality of meals children eat in school and in child care, increasing the number of healthy meals available to needy children and providing the first real increase in the Federal reimbursement rate for school lunches in more than 30 years. The law also eliminates junk food from schools by requiring schools, for the first time, to apply nutritional standards to food served outside the cafeteria.

School Lunch Makeover:

How the Child Nutrition Bill Will Improve What's on the School Lunch Tray




Fried chicken patty

Barbequed chicken patty

White roll

Whole grain roll

Canned green beans

Fresh carrots

Package of snack cakes (a la carte)

Fresh sliced apples

Whole milk

1% milk

This law:

-          Improves the nutritional quality of school meals by increasing the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches for districts who comply with federal nutrition standards. An additional 6 cents per meal will help schools meet new meal standards to provide children with healthier school meals. This is the first real reimbursement rate increase in over 30 years.

-          Increases the number of eligible children enrolled in the school meals programs by using Medicaid data to directly certify children who meet income requirements without requiring individual applications. This provision will connect approximately new 115,000 students to the school meal programs.

-          Connects more children with school meals by setting benchmarks for states to improve their direct certification. Incentive bonuses will encourage improved performance. This will help certify an additional 4,500 students per year, on average.

-          Establishes national nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools throughout the day.