U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today introduced a series of proposals that will make higher education more affordable for Virginia families, and provide additional ways for borrowers to repay student loans. The proposals were fine-tuned after a series of productive roundtable discussions held with students, parents, counselors and educators across Virginia earlier this year.
“For borrowers and parents, student loan debt is a real crisis. Many young people find themselves working in jobs they didn’t train for just to pay off their student loans, or because they cannot find other work,” Sen. Warner said. “Still other young people are putting off decisions about starting a family or buying a home – activities which can help strengthen our overall economy – because their student loan debts make it hard to pay their bills. I heard these stories again and again during our roundtable discussions earlier this year.”
Sen. Warner’s proposals include bipartisan legislation to provide greater transparency to help students and their families make more informed college and career decisions. The Warner legislation also strengthens career and technical education programs by more closely linking local job training programs with today’s job openings. In addition, the Senator proposes making income-based Pell Grants available to qualified high school studentsso they can begin taking college-level courses sooner, lowering the overall cost of their higher education. Finally, Sen. Warner will propose legislation expanding opportunities for borrowers to repay student loans based on their income, and he has proposed creating a voluntary program that allows employers to help their employees better manage and pay-down their student debts.
“I, like most Americans, could not have attended college without student loans,” Sen. Warner said. “However, all of us should be concerned about America’s looming $1 trillion student debt crisis. Our legislative proposals create smart, targeted and cost-effective tools that can lower the cost of higher education for Virginia families, strengthen workforce training programs, and give borrowers more flexibility in repaying their student loans.”
Additional information on Sen. Warner’s proposals can be accessed here.