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Photos: Rubio Tours The Villages Charter School

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) toured The Villages Charter School with Villages Charter School President Dr. Gary Lester. Rubio has long defended and supported school choice in Florida. While at the school, Rubio also met with members of the girl’s flag football...

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ICYMI: Rubio: Here Are My Plans to Make College Affordable

Jun 18, 2019 | Press Releases

Here are my plans to make college affordable
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
June 18, 2019
Tampa Bay Times
As millions of students across the country celebrate graduation, many are also realizing that they will need to pay for the ever-rising costs of higher education. As someone who could not have afforded college or law school without federal programs, like direct loans and the Pell Grant, I know firsthand the financial challenges students face when figuring out how to afford tuition and pay off student loan debt.
For an increasing share of families, federal student loan programs have played an important, necessary role as higher education costs rise. As of March 2019, student loan debt totaled $1.49 trillion — American’s single largest source of non-housing debt. This isn’t simply an issue of more people attending college. The cost of obtaining a four-year degree has more than doubled between 1986 and 2016 in constant dollars, according to the National Center on Education Statistics.

My Leveraging Opportunities for Americans Now (LOAN) Act would eliminate interest in student loans and replace it with a one-time fee that does not increase and would be paid over the life of the loan, as well as automatically enroll borrowers in an income-based repayment plan. This ensures borrowers are no longer trapped in a seemingly inescapable cycle of debt where the interest accrues faster than the borrower’s ability to repay.

We must also examine current policies that make it tougher for borrowers to repay their loans. In some states, including Florida, borrowers can have their professional, teaching or driver’s licenses revoked, suspended or denied solely because the borrower fell behind on their student loan payments. It makes no sense to revoke a professional license from someone who is trying to pay their student loans. My Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers (Protecting JOBs) Act would fix this catch-22 and ensure borrowers are able to continue working to pay off their loans.
Finally, we must ensure families understand the full costs and benefits of higher education. The cost of a traditional four-year degree has more than doubled in the last 30 years, but critical data, such as schools’ graduation rates, debt levels, how much graduates can expect to earn and other key education and workforce-related measures of success, are not available today. My bipartisan Student Right to Know Before You Go Act would give students more information about how much money they should expect to borrow as well as future earning potential for the schools and areas of study they are planning to pursue.
Congress will soon reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which authorizes federal aid programs for higher education. As higher education reform discussions get under way in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, I applaud many of the proposals of Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Ten., to help students attain a quality, affordable education that fits their goals and lifestyles, including reforming loan repayment options, simplifying the federal student aid application (also known as FAFSA), and increasing transparency to better understand the cost and outcomes of a degree.
As Congress and Alexander’s committee continue work reauthorizing HEA, I look forward to exploring new solutions to ensure our higher education system is more affordable and within the reach of more students than ever before.
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