By Robert Kittle
Making college debt-free is the goal of a resolution pre-filed in the South Carolina House of Representatives. The resolution would have to pass the SC House and Senate, and it would then be sent to the U.S. Congress asking it to pass a plan.
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, pre-filed the resolution. It says the average South Carolina student who graduates college has a student loan debt of more than $29,000.
USC freshman Kirsten Angus likes the idea of debt-free college. “It definitely makes it more stressful, like wanting to do well in school because you want to come out with a good GPA so you can get a job to pay off your loans, so it adds to the stress factor of college,” she says.
The resolution says college could be made debt-free by Congress sending more money to the states so states can increase investments in higher education, bringing down costs for students. The resolution would also ask Congress to increase federal aid to students to help cover the cost of college without their taking on debt. And it would encourage innovation by states and colleges to increase efficiency, lower cost, and enable faster, less-costly degree completion. The plan also calls for reducing the burden of existing student loan debt.
While she thinks it’s a good idea, Kirsten Angus wonders where the money would come from. “I just don’t know if it’s fair for other people to be paying for my education by their tax dollars,” she says.
She also wonders how likely it is to happen, since state lawmakers would first have to pass the resolution and then Congress would have to pass the plan.