Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A 'Debt-Free College' Resolution Was Introduced in Congress Today

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 5:00 PM

A resolution that seeks to make the college and university experience debt-free for students was introduced in Congress today. (Our very own U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva was among the representatives who introduced the House version. By the way, the resolution is sponsored by all Democrats).

They want to increase financial aid, lower tuition and offer options to get a degree quicker. 

In a statement by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, who is the primary sponsor of the Senate's version of the proposal, the congressmen and women involved highlighted the fact that the cost of going to college has increased by about 300 percent in the last three decades. They also said that graduating with debt has detrimental long-lasting effects in the country's economy (college graduates who are unable of buying a house, starting a business, etc.).

"Student loan debt is now the highest form of personal debt in the nation, reaching over $1.3 trillion for 38 million student loan borrowers across the country," the press release said.

A statement by Grijalva:
“Education remains the single greatest avenue of upward mobility our society has ever known. But the mounting costs of higher education place it out of reach for too many Americans, holding them back from their full potential or burdening them with unimaginable debt for years to come. In the richest nation on earth, there is no excuse for erecting and maintaining these barriers to professional growth.”
A statement by Schatz:
“Our message is clear: we need to do more to make college more affordable for all students so that they can graduate without debt holding them back. The federal government, states, and schools all have a role to play in cutting the cost of college. This is a problem we can solve, and we can start by working to make sure institutions receiving federal funding are doing their part to make a degree more affordable and accessible for all students.”
This resolution is backed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (they want to put the issue at the top of priorities in the 2016 presidential campaign), according to a write up by The Huffington Post

The article says that about 71 percent of students who get a bachelor's degree graduate with debt that averages about $29,000, according to a 2014 White House report.

From the Post:
A paper co-authored by the PCCC and Demos, a liberal think tank, argues that debt can be reduced through a combination of educational offerings and accountability measures. The groups' suggestions include increasing the number of advanced placement courses and early college high school programs that are offered, ensuring that schools aren't using federal money for advertising and requiring schools with large endowments to guarantee debt-free college.
In January, President Obama proposed making two years of community college free for any student who has a GPA of at least 2.5, is enrolled at least part-time and is working on completing a program or transferring to a four-year university. 

Arizona's U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego is also involved with the movement. 

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