Education is a priority for families in the Ninth District. I am honored to represent the district’s many schools, enrichment centers, and institutions of higher education. Education has been one of the focal points of my career, and I believe everyone should have access to a quality education.

For nearly 20 years, I worked tirelessly as a Tennessee State Senator to initiate and pass the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program to fund college scholarships, after-school programs, and pre-K education for Tennessee’s students.  Since the inception of the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program in 2004, over $4 billion has gone to Tennessee students continuing their education at the college level.

Today, I am proud to continue working to improve education in the U.S. House of Representatives. Throughout my career in Congress, I have introduced legislation aimed at improving educational access and standards for students of all ages.


I introduced the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Act (H.R. 1674).  The bill ensures privately issued student loans will once again be treated like other consumer debt and be dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Due to changes Congress made to bankruptcy laws 10 years ago, student loans made by private, for-profit lenders are currently very difficult to discharge in bankruptcy.

I introduced the bipartisan Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act (H.R. 4101). This bill helps stop for-profit colleges from aggressively targeting veterans and active-duty service members by eliminating the powerful financial incentives that cause them to do so.


I introduced the Protections and Regulation for Our (PRO) Students Act (H.R. 2192) with my colleagues to protect.  This bill protects students from deceitful practices and bad actors in the for-profit college industry.  It provides stricter guidelines for colleges, ensures that students have access to important and accurate information and data, strengthens oversight and regulation, and holds schools accountable for violations and poor performance.

I am a co-sponsor of the Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act (H.R.2022).  This bill authorizes a demonstration program to place additional professional secondary school counselors in high schools with drop-out rates of 40 percent or more. 

I introduced the Restorative Justice in Schools Act , which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to allow local educational agencies to use the funds to provide professional development activities that train school personnel to use restorative justice as a means of conflict resolution. Restorative justice is a method that aims to resolve conflicts between students in a manner that focuses on the victim and the offender of a wrong-doing.  Unlike traditional punishment, this can prevent the use of penalties such as incarceration that are often times, too harsh, expensive, and counter-productive, leading to repeat offenses. The amendment passed the House on July 8, 2015 and similar language was included in the final bill, which President Obama signed into law on December 10, 2015.  

I introduced the Positive Reduction of Incarceration by Maximizing Education (PRIME) Act, which is a means to promote the choice of education vs. incarceration.  About one in every ten young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, compared with one in thirty-five young male high school graduates. This legislation arises out of research that has demonstrated increased education is directly related to reduce incarceration.   America's youth must be exposed to the concrete benefits of academic accomplishment.


I cosponsored The Keeping All Students Safe Act (H.R. 4247), in order to prevent and reduce the use of physical restraint and seclusion in schools. This act will protect our youth from physical or mental abuse, aversive behavioral interventions that compromise health and safety, and any physical restraint or seclusion imposed solely for purposes of discipline or convenience, in order to ensure physical restraint and seclusion are imposed in school only when a student's behavior poses an imminent danger of physical injury to the student, school personnel, or others.


I introduced the Maximizing Opportunity and Retaining Experienced Teachers Act (MORE Teachers Act) to help address teacher shortages and retain qualified, experienced teachers. The legislation, which is supported by both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, would make teachers who teach in geographic areas with teacher shortages and those who teach an underserved subject matter eligible for up to $17,500 of federal loan forgiveness if they stay in their position for 5 years.

More on Education

February 24, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will receive a $593,239 grant from the National Science Foundation underwriting a project involving three-dimensional super-resolution light microscopy of thick, unprocessed biological samples.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

February 23, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois today introduced bicameral legislation that would help put an end to the for-profit college industry’s aggressive recruiting of veterans, service members, and their families.  The Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act would prohibit for-profit colleges and universities from receiving more than 85 percent of their revenue from the federal government and change the calculation of federal revenue to include all federal funds, including Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill and Department of Defense Tuitio

February 22, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Christian Brothers University will receive a $74,801 grant from the National Science Foundation for teacher education in the STEM disciplines.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I’m pleased to announce this National Science Foundation grant to provide a stronger foundation in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is an investment that will pay dividends.”

February 19, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) two grants for ongoing medical research. The first, for $530,534, is from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for research of dysglycemia, or abnormal blood glucose levels. The second, for $1,519,716, is from the Department’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, for improving cardiovascular health.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

February 18, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced the Civil Rights Legacy Protection Act to regulate and reinforce protections for civil rights memorials and monuments across the United States by establishing federal penalties against vandalism of these sites, similar to the existing safeguards in place for the vandalism of veterans’ memorials. It would also direct the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights to create a list of monuments and memorials that should be protected.

February 8, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Dina Titus (NV-01) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today re-introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act that would ban the transportation of horses across state lines in “double decker” trucks or trailers containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. Congressman Cohen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, last year applauded the inclusion of the Horse Transportation Safety Act in the House-passed Moving Forward Act. Congressman Cohen has championed the measure since 2008.

January 26, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today made the following statement about International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is Wednesday, January 27:

January 26, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced three federal grants totaling more than $1 million. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive $542,105 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research on endothelial cells. The University of Memphis will receive $346,506 from the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism for work on approaches to reducing alcohol use among non-student, emerging adults.

January 24, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today was saddened to learn of the passing of legendary LeMoyne-Owen College basketball coach and athletic director Jerry C. Johnson and made the following statement:

“Coach Johnson was loved by LeMoyne-Owen, beloved by his Magician players, and respected and admired by the entire Memphis community. I was always impressed with his quiet demeanor and self-effacing attitude, even though he was as much a star in the Memphis basketball world as anyone. A gentle giant and a gentleman, he led an exemplary life and will be missed.”

January 7, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) noted the passing of Miriam DeCosta-Willis today, and made the following statement:

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Miriam DeCosta-Willis, a respected community leader, scholar, educator, legendary glass ceiling-breaker and civil rights pioneer. She was also a great mother of successful children, who are committed to excellence and community-oriented like their parents were. She will be missed.”