College Affordabilityby Representative David N. Cicilline
Posted on 2016-04-14
CICILLINE asked and was given permission to address the House
for 1 minute.)
Mr. CICILLINE. Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, at 3:30 p.m., I am hosting a
public discussion at the Community College of Rhode Island Lincoln
campus to highlight financial aid opportunities for students and the
work we need to do in Congress to address the crisis of student debt.
Our young people are drowning in student debt. It is projected that 65 percent of the job openings by 2020 will require postsecondary education or training beyond high school, so this will become even more urgent.
The cost of education in a 4-year university has increased 250 percent since 1979, while real wages have stayed about the same.
Compared to 1979, students pay $26,000 more per year for a private university and $11,000 more each year at a public university. The average Rhode Island college student has over $31,000 in student loan debt, the fourth highest in the country.
We need to guarantee young people that they can graduate from college debt free. We need to allow students to refinance existing debt at lower rates, and we need to increase Pell grants and other investments in higher education. This needs to be a national priority. We need to do it now. Our future depends on it.