Addresses college affordability, student loan stabilization, free or reduced college, and a $15 minimum wage.
October 6, 2018
SALT LAKE CITY, UT– In the final weeks of her Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate, Jenny Wilson is on a college tour addressing young Utahns.
Last week, Jenny addressed students at Snow College and in the coming weeks she visit the Southern Utah University, Utah State University, University of Utah, and Utah Valley University campuses.
This week, while on the Weber State University campus, Jenny released her plan titled, “Restoring the American Dream for Young Americans.”
Utah remains the youngest state in the country, with an average age of 30.7 years old.
Wilson’s plan that seeks to restore prosperity to the next generation and addresses college affordability, student loan stabilization, free college, and a $15 minimum wage.
Jenny supports enacting tax incentives and requirements for large college endowments to be used to stabilize and offset tuition costs. Typically, about 5% of an endowment is used to support University programs while the remaining 90% is untouched.
This system leads to outrageous balances, while the barrier to entry continues to be too high for many potential students. For example, Harvard’s endowment is an astonishing $36.4 billion and Yale’s is $25.6 billion. Locally, the University of Utah endowment is over $1 billion.
Wilson supports Congressman Tom Reed’s (R–NY) proposal which requires schools with endowments of $1 billion or more to spend 25% of their endowment to provide scholarships to students who qualify for Pell Grants. In turn, the schools would receive tax benefits. Correspondingly, penalties would be leveled against institutions that did not comply, and they could also risk losing their tax exempt status.
Accessibility for All to Community Colleges
Public, community colleges are vital to our communities and guarantee equitable access to education and career success. Jenny supports free or reduced community college tuition for all students who wish to pursue further education but who cannot afford to attend or don’t qualify for low interest loans.
Jenny endorses the strategy of states like Arizona and New Hampshire, which have figured out how to provided free or low cost college to students who qualify for Pell Grants. Providing state-run institutions with a portion of the traditionally allocated funds for students in the form of a subsidy allows the institutions themselves to mitigate the overall cost passed on to students.
The federal government could leverage the same financing structure to reduce the cost of college for a larger number of students through block grants. Democrats have already proposed the RED Act, a bill that would give the states $3 for every $1 they invested to stabilize tuition.
Nationally, college debt is now our second-highest category of debt. (after mortgages). Students in the U.S. carry more than $1.5 trillion in collective student debt, and the average 2016 graduate is carrying more than $37,000 in debt. Nationally, 10.7% of student loan holders are in default or delinquency. (Source: Forbes)
Jenny will work to create new loan policies which target the burdens of student loan debt, with guaranteed lower rates of repayment. In order to do so, Jenny would support the following initiatives:
Allow for consolidation and refinancing of students loans. This would save the average student $2,000/year in interest. (Source: SCRIBD)
Index PELL Grants to the Consumer Pricing Index to allow larger low-cost loans for the students who need the most help.
Cap interest on student loans at 6%.
Reward financial institutions that serve students best and punish the bad actors by opening federal loan program to multiple providers to create competition.
Use the government’s profits from student loans – projected to be over $110 billion in the next decade – to cancel student loans for the most needy students and to lower federal interest rates on student loans.
Jenny would be proud to stand with Senators Warren and Rubio to protect professional licenses for students who are behind on student loans. This bipartisan effort would protect young workers who fall behind on student loan payments from having their professional licenses and drivers’ licenses suspended as punishment. How are students supposed to repay their loans if they are unable to practice in the industry they attended school for?
Income Inequality, Tax Reform and Living Wage
The problem of income inequality is growing for a number of reasons – increasing debt, stagnant wages, rising healthcare expenses, and the inability for middle-class Americans to save for retirement.
We need policies that address each of these issues so the next generation is entering into a stable economic environment that will allow them to prosper the way that their grandparents and parents have.
A Corporate Freeloader Bill
Jenny supports rewarding good actors and punishing corporations that are forcing their employees to use more of the social safety net.
Low benefits and stagnant wages keep workers on programs like housing vouchers, Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, etc. Low wage earners receive more than $153 billion annually in federal assistance.
In order to ensure that businesses are looking out for their employees, we must punish the businesses that:
-Designate workers as contractors to avoid providing benefits (prevalent in healthcare, elder-care, and fitness industries)
-Violate employment law by not paying time and half
-Fail to provide health insurance and retirement program options
In turn, we must reward businesses which:
-Provide an hourly wage higher than the federal minimum
-Provide health insurance options
-Provide access to retirement savings
-Offer earned, paid sick leave