Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee


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

April 10, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Steve Cohen voted to pass H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act, a bill he cosponsored, to restore popular, bipartisan net neutrality protections for consumers and small businesses after the Trump Administration ended these vital protections in a brazen, partisan attack last year.  The Save the Internet Act passed the House by a vote of 231-190.

March 27, 2019 In The News

On Tuesday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went before a House appropriations subcommittee and, as she has in every previous year of the Trump presidency, requested a series of huge cuts to the Department of Education—$7 billion in total this time around, which is roughly 10 percent of the department’s budget. Among the proposals that DeVos made to that end was eliminating the entirety of the $17.6 million in federal spending dedicated to the Special Olympics.

March 20, 2019 In The News

I was pleased to read of President Randy Boyd’s announcement that the University of Tennessee will begin offering free tuition to meritorious, need-based students in 2020.

March 13, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will be receiving a $609,360 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to conduct vascular research.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

March 8, 2019 Press Release

March 6, 2019 – Today, Congressman Steve Cohen joined Democrats to co-sponsor the bicameral Save the Internet Act, which restores popular, bipartisan net neutrality protections for consumers and small businesses, after the Trump Administration ended these vital protections in a brazen, partisan attack last year.

March 7, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) joined his Congressional colleagues with the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus and the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Caucus in welcoming the second annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action on Capitol Hill. This annual event brings together education and industry leaders and Members of Congress for a collective day of advocacy for our nation’s 102 HBCUs and their 300,000 students.


March 5, 2019 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will be receiving a $418,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to conduct clinical research on neurological disorders. He made the following statement:

“This grant for clinical neurological research will keep the University of Tennessee’s highly regarded medical school at the cutting edge in this challenging field.”


February 27, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded a $252,934 grant to the University of Memphis for a multidisciplinary program for undergraduates in the Physics and Material Sciences program. The grant underwrites a summer program in which students will be immersed in research-intensive activities.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

February 11, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) noted the passing of former Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director David Williams II on Friday and made the following statement:

“David Williams did a great job as a Vice Chancellor and as Vanderbilt’s Athletics Director and his professionalism reflected well on the school. As an alumnus, I was sorry when he retired just last month and am even more so at his passing.”

February 5, 2019 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) watched President Trump’s second State of the Union message to Congress on television at his office in the Rayburn House Office Building and released the following statement: