Creating affordable opportunities

Posted September 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

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By Bruce Braley, Representative, 1st District

The problem is clear – college tuition has skyrocketed 83 percent since 2000. And in Iowa, college graduates have one of the highest student debt loads in the nation. Before they even begin looking for a job, they’re burdened with nearly $30,000 of student loan debt.

Iowa’s best and brightest have the skills to compete in today’s global economy, but instead they’re being overwhelmed with debt the moment they graduate. This debt can take decades to pay off and can compromise their economic success for just as long.

I relied on student loans, summer jobs and work during school to pay for my education – first to attend Iowa State, and later in law school at the University of Iowa. I know from personal experience that taking on some student debt can be a great investment in your future. But today’s students face a new set of challenges.

That’s why when Congress returns in September, I’m introducing a bill that renews an existing $4,000 tax deduction for college tuition and fees for another four years. The deduction is currently scheduled to expire at the end of this year if Congress does not take action. If the $4,000 deduction is allowed to expire, Iowa students and their families would face yet another increase in college tuition.

Recently, when it comes to important legislation, Congress has put on a show of bitter partisan fighting ultimately ending in short-term solutions for long-term problems, often decided in a haphazard fashion at the last possible minute.

This is unacceptable. We must work harder for our students and send a message that no one will be priced-out of pursuing higher education. I’ll continue to work hard in Congress to make sure that Iowa students have the opportunities they deserve.

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