Murkowski on Student Loans, Cites Need for “True Improvements that Work for Every Student”
Senator Shares Alaska-Specific Concerns with Student Loan Refinancing Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski today shared the concerns of Alaskans about the problem of student debt, while expressing misgivings with the approach proposed by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren – stressing the need for a bipartisan debate and her willingness to make higher education more attainable and affordable for Alaska’s students. Earlier today, Senator Murkowski voted to begin debate on the bill in order to present ideas and alternatives to the Warren concept that would better help Alaskans and not harm the state’s loan programs.
“As a mother and as the former Commissioner of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education – or ‘AC-PE’ – I am deeply concerned about the rising costs for college tuitions. The debt that students past, present and future are saddled with is something we must address. I’m proud of several helpful steps that Congress has taken in recent years, like The College Cost Reduction and Access Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act that I helped to put together. While I appreciate Senator Warren’s efforts to assist those who struggle to pay student loans taken out prior to 2013, I have real concerns with her approach which is essentially a one-size-fits-all bill which could damage our state’s loan programs.
“The current Executive Director of ACPE informs me that this bill would bankrupt Alaska’s state-run financial aid system or likely require a state bailout because of the way it is designed. It would also likely uproot ACPE’s efforts to increase Alaskans’ access to and success in high-quality postsecondary education and job training, a model that has been replicated nationwide. This bill would also leave behind Alaskans who are currently having trouble paying their state and private loans.
“While we must deal with student debt that is crushing our young people, we also need to address the other factors that are holding them back: sky high college tuition rising every year, lack of jobs, and a recognition that the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is double the national average.
“I believe that our college students deserve true improvements that work for every student, and I stand ready to work with any Senator on either side of the aisle to reach the goal of lowering the costs of higher education and getting our student debt to a more manageable level.”