Minnesota college graduates have the fifth highest debt burden in the nation, with an average student loan debt of over $31,000. Many students face interest rates as high as 6.8% once they graduate, and are saddled with overwhelming debt before they have the chance to get their careers off the ground. This debt is contributing to a generation of Americans who are delaying buying a house, starting a family, or saving money because they have student loans to pay.
Fortunately, DFLers have introduced legislation to tackle this growing problem here in Minnesota.
Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park) is authoring a bill to reduce tuition for students at four-year state universities, appropriating funds from the surplus. Rep. Hortman is also proposing funding for a program that would allow students with lower credit scores to refinance their college loans.
Rep. Jon Applebaum (DFL- Minnetonka) is authoring a proposal to give a refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 for students making annual loan payments up to that amount. The credit would phase out for single people making $65,000 a year and married couples filing jointly who make $130,000 or more.
These investments in college affordability and student debt relief would be a welcome use for part of the state’s surplus of $900 million. I’m saying this both as a college senior, and as someone who’d like to see the surplus invested in an economy that works better for all Minnesotans, not just those at the top.