On Aug. 1, U.S. Representative Michael A. Arcuri (D-Utica) named President Mark Gearan to the 24th Congressional District’s Higher Education Advisory Committee. Arcuri announced the names of the university and college officials who will serve on the Committee following the approval, on July 31, of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 4137) Conference Report. The act addresses rising college costs and is intended to remove barriers that keep qualified students from pursuing higher education. “In today’s global economy, nothing is more important for our region’s future than our commitment to educating tomorrow’s workforce,” Arcuri said. “I continue my commitment to expanding access to higher education for local families by making sure we grow our economy and provide students with the tools they need to succeed. The 24th district is home to many outstanding colleges and universities that provide high quality education and serve as critical components of the Upstate New York economy. I look forward to working with these educational leaders to build our region’s greatest resource.” H.R. 4137 is a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the primary federal law aimed at expanding college access for low- and middle-income students. It was approved by both the House and the Senate on the same day. It is now pending approval by the President. This legislation builds on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the largest federal investment in student aid since the 1944 GI Bill, which was signed into law in September and strongly supported by Arcuri. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act will boost college financial aid by more than $20 billion over the next five years – including increasing financial aid by more than $2 million for college students in New York.