At roundtable in Manchester, Shaheen promotes college affordability with education and business leaders

May 23, 2014

(Manchester, NH - May 23, 2014 – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) discusses college affordability with New Hampshire business and education leaders)

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this morning hosted a roundtable discussion on college affordability and the impact investments in higher education have on New Hampshire’s economy. While at Dyn in Manchester, Shaheen met with New Hampshire business and education leaders to discuss how her proposals to refinance student loans, help students better manage their debt, and lower costs for higher education will help create a stronger workforce in the future and boost the economy as a whole. Dyn has partnered with Southern New Hampshire University to help provide low cost degrees to students.

“Expanding access to higher education in New Hampshire and around the country is critical for our economy’s future,” Shaheen said. “Higher education costs are skyrocketing and when students graduate with thousands of dollars in debt it hurts our economy. We need to act on common sense proposals to rein in costs and help students lower their debt so they’re not tied down by loan repayments for decades after they graduate.”  

Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America, the school’s online division, joined this morning’s roundtable to discuss their efforts to offer degrees to students for $10,000. The College is geared toward working adults and seeks to connect workers and employers with skills that will be mutually beneficial.

“Partnerships like the one between Dyn and Southern New Hampshire University to help provide low cost degrees are a great example how businesses and schools can work together on behalf of our students and our economy,” Shaheen added.

Over the last 30 years, tuition and fees have increased 167 percent at private four-year colleges and 257 percent at public four-year colleges. Nationally, student loan debt tops $1 trillion according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The growing cost of higher education and student loan debt has become a burden on the economy preventing new graduates from purchasing homes and starting families. According to the Project on Student Debt, New Hampshire ranks second in the country on average student debt per graduate, at nearly $33,000.

Shaheen has made improving access to higher education a priority in the Senate. She recently helped introduce the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, legislation that would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers. Shaheen has repeatedly called to address the growing student loan crisis in New Hampshire and recently introduced legislation that would give students access to a comprehensive online database to manage debt and better navigate repayment. She worked to support low-income students by increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 and last year, fought to maintain low interest rates for Stafford loans and supported the Pay As You Earn repayment plan to help students and families manage college tuition.