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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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Sen. Franzen and Rep. Stephenson introduce bill to bring “Degrees not Debt” to students

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

SAINT PAUL, MINN. – Senator Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, and Representative Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, introduced companion bills to bring degrees not debt to students in Minnesota. The bill will support the 775,600 Minnesotans with student loan debt by creating a student loan advocate, requiring licensure of student loan servicers, and other measures. (HF 1424, SF 1484)


According to the Federal Reserve, outstanding student loan balances have more than doubled in the last decade, with aver­age real student loan debt per capita for individuals ages 24 to 32, rising from $5,000 in 2005 to $10,000 in 2014. This is an issue that continues to affect Minnesotans across the state, including the disproportionate effect on rural communities. With students borrowing at higher rates and in larger amounts to pursue postsecondary education, student loan debt may play an increased role in the dynamics of the urban-rural migration.


“There is much more work that needs to be done to make college accessible and affordable to all students, and this is a step in the right direction,” said Sen. Franzen. “There is a government interest in providing the proper assistance to a growing number of young people facing an oftentimes insurmountable amount of student debt.”


“As I talk to people with student loans, I hear one consistent complaint: there is no one on the side of the student,” said Rep. Stephenson. “I am excited to keep driving this bill forward so we stop the abuses in the student loan industry and help students make informed decisions about their future.”


Video of full press conference: