San­ders: Make Col­lege More Af­ford­able

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) to­day wel­comed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to limit stu­dent loan pay­ments to no more than 10 per­cent of a bor­rower’s monthly in­come.

“Mil­lions of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies are strug­gling to re­pay stu­dent loans. Cap­ping pay­ments at no more than 10 per­cent of in­come is one way to help,” said San­ders, a mem­ber of the Se­nate ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee. He also en­dorsed Obama’s pro­posal to help stu­dents make bet­ter-in­formed choices about which stu­dent loan re­pay­ment op­tions are best for them.

Mean­while, the Se­nate this week is ex­pected to take up leg­is­la­tion that would let col­lege grad­u­ates with heavy debts re­fi­nance their loans. San­ders backs the bill by Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren (D-Mass.) to ad­dress what he called “the cri­sis of col­lege af­ford­abil­ity im­pact­ing mil­lions of mid­dle­class and work­ing fam­i­lies.”

Separately, San­ders has pro­posed his own leg­is­la­tion to bring down col­lege costs.

San­ders’ pro­posal would ex­pand pro­grams that al­low high school ju­niors and se­niors to take col­lege-level classes and earn credit that counts to­ward both high school and col­lege grad­u­a­tion. The ap­proach re­duces the cost and time nec­es­sary to com­plete a col­lege de­gree. The bill is co-spon­sored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Mur­phy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I,), Christo­pher Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gil­li­brand (D-N.Y.), and John D. Rock­e­feller (D-W. Va).

The aver­age four-year col­lege grad­u­ate in Ver­mont owes $28,000 in stu­dent loans, $1,000 more than the na­tional aver­age. Na­tion­wide, the price of a four-year col­lege ed­u­ca­tion in­creased over the past decade at a rate 43 per­cent greater than the rate of in­fla­tion as states slashed fund­ing for their pub­lic higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems. Stu­dent debt has tripled since 2004.

“If we want to se­ri­ously ad­dress this prob­lem, we must make col­lege much more af­ford­able,” San­ders said

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