The higher education package the Senate passed this month is one of the most significant pieces of legislation we will pass this year. We are taking a significant step in making higher education a reality for students across the country.

College is part of the American Dream, it shouldn't be part of the American financial nightmare. This is part of my Freedom to Achieve initiative, which is aimed at making sure all students have access to higher education so they can follow the American dream. We must make college more affordable and provide students with the tools and resources they need to stay competitive.

This package increases Pell Grants from $4,310 to $5,400, provides $17.3 billion in increased student aid that goes directly to student borrowers instead of banks, and makes community college students eligible for special American Competitiveness grants.

Pursuing higher education should never be determined by the zip code you live in, the color of your skin, or the size of your family's wallet. I am proud to support this legislation. Congress must move quickly to get these bills to the President's desk for his immediate signature.