Two senators have introduced a bill to help tackle the $1.71 trillion national student loan debt crisis afflicting American students.
Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have introduced legislation designed to improve the prospects of future college students through a bill to reduce student loan debt for financially disadvantaged students.
Under the Earn to Learn Act, a college-matched savings program will be established, providing qualified students from low-income households with individual education savings accounts.
For every dollar that the student contributes, a participating state or non-profit organization will match that amount with an additional $8. The money will go toward the payment of expenses such as tuition, books, and accommodation once the student enrolls.
“Our legislation will help students pursue their education by equipping them with the financial resources and knowledge they need to attend college, career, and technical schools without the burden of being saddled with debt when they graduate,” Sen. Romney said in a press release.
“Creating a college-matched savings program helps Arizona students save for school while teaching the importance of money management,” Sen. Sinema added.
Following in Arizona’s Footsteps
The new legislation reportedly adopted the blueprint of the successful “Earn to Learn” program in Arizona, which has been helping underrepresented students gain access to a college education for almost a decade.
Scholars of the program have a 90 percent first-year retention rate, and most of them graduate with little to no student debt. Those who wish to be part of this state initiative must first qualify for a Pell Grant.
“For nearly a decade, Earn to Learn has been changing the lives of Arizona students who may have thought a college education was financially out of reach,” Earn to Learn Founder and CEO Kate Hoffman said. “I applaud sponsoring Sens. Sinema and Romney for their efforts to make this innovative program available to students across the country, fostering economic opportunity for low-income American families and helping to break the cycle of multigenerational poverty.”