On Monday, state legislators demonstrated their commitment to addressing the ever-growing student debt crisis in the US by announcing their support of new legislation making public colleges debt-free.
Joining a nationwide campaign spearheaded by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), Democratic lawmakers in 10 states including Massachusetts, Ohio and South Carolina are introducing resolutions, assembling study committees and developing strategies to place higher education within reach of all Americans by making college debt-free.
The need for increased accessibility to affordable education could not be more urgent. Not only do full-time workers with bachelor’s degrees earn 60 percent more than workers with high school diplomas alone, 68 percent of managerial job postings and 60 percent of computer and mathematical job listings require them. With public and private institution costs skyrocketing in just fifteen years, 40 million Americans now owe more than $1.3 trillion dollars in student loans, each with an average outstanding balance of $29,000 and a repayment period extending some 13.4 years, deepening economic inequality and hindering social mobility.
These state legislators are the latest policymakers to answer the PCCC’s call to action. In April, ninety-nine members of Congress signed on to formally endorse the idea of debt-free college.
“From New Hampshire to Iowa, and all across the nation, voters want students to be able to graduate from college without debt,” said PCCC’s campaign director Kayla Wingbermuehle.
Media Resources: Time 12/7/15; CNBC 6/15/15; Columbus Dispatch 12/8/15