WHEREAS, the economic competitiveness of the United States and Massachusetts in the global economy, requires a well-educated workforce;
WHEREAS, students in Massachusetts currently average over $29,000 upon graduation, which significantly hinders their ability to participate in the local economy;
WHEREAS, current and future young people in Massachusetts should have the same opportunity offered to those who went to college in previous generations, including the ability to attend state colleges and universities without taking on overly burdensome debt;
WHEREAS, in 2016, higher education is more important than ever because it is an essential step to entering and remaining in the middle class;
WHEREAS, because of the importance of higher education, the Federal and State governments should expand the opportunity to pursue and attain higher education to more people than had that opportunity in the past;
WHEREAS, public investment in higher education pays off, as evidenced by the fact the G.I. Bill resulted in a 7-to-1 return on investment for our national economy and that workers with college degrees earn more money, pay more taxes, and rely less on government services;
WHEREAS, student loan debt saddles the very students who most depend on a college degree to level the economic playing field with a burden that constrains career choices and hurts the credit rating of students, prevents people from fully participating in the economy by purchasing goods and services. and threatens essential milestones of the American dream – including the purchase of a home or car, starting a family, and saving for retirement; and
WHEREAS, a national goal of debt-free college would include significant federal aid to states, including Massachusetts;
THEREFORE, be it resolved:
The undersigned members of the Massachusetts General Court support efforts to enact legislation that:
1. Ensures all students have access to debt-free higher education, defined to mean having no debt upon graduation from any public institutions of higher education;
2. Supports efforts that increase support to States so States can increase investments in higher education and bring down costs for students;
3. Increases aid to students to help them cover the total cost of college attendance without taking on debt;
4. Encourages innovation by States and institutions of higher education to increase efficiency, lower costs, and enable speedy and less-costly degree completion; and
5. Reduces the burden of existing student loan debt.
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