Senators Wyden & Warner took to Twitter to answer questions about their bill- Student Right to Know Before You Go Act. It gives students the information they need to choose between colleges and programs.
On December 3, Senator Wyden attended the 10th Annual Oregon Leadership Summit. Over 800 community and business leaders were also in attendance.
Senator Wyden is credited with coming up with the idea for the Oregon Leadership Summit ten years ago-- an idea that grew out of the town hall meetings he holds in every Oregon county every year.
“We knew this was going to be well received, but it far exceeded what we actually thought was possible,” said Senator Wyden to the Portland Business Journal about the Summit's 10th anniversary.
At this year's Summit, Senator Wyden praised the Oregon Business Plan and its aim to create businesses and industry in Oregon that sustain local economies and communities. Senator Wyden also spoke of sustained economic growth on a national level.
“So here’s my take on what has to be done in Washington, D.C.” said Senator Wyden. “We must stop patching the broken mess that creates problems like the fiscal cliff and start working on fresh reforms that will service as a launching pad for sustained economic growth.”
Senator Wyden stressed that these fresh reforms must include: investing in transportation infrastructure, transparency in trade negotiations, cybersecurity policies that encourage innovation, and comprehensive tax reform. Importantly, since all this takes an educated workforce, students and workers should be able to apply a cost-benefit analysis to their education and training.
This week the Senate took up the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act—popularly known on social media channels as #DontDoubleMyRate—legislation aimed at curbing the Stafford loan interest rates which are set to increase from 3.4% to 6.8% this summer. In a speech on the floor of the Senate, Senator Wyden spoke out in support of the bill saying, “The Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike [Act] is so important that it allows us to achieve two important objectives. First, it puts us in a position to hold the line on student debt…The second part of the legislation in my view is by holding the line on debt, you increase the opportunity for young people to get more value out of their education.”
Keeping college costs down through student aid is absolutely critical. Senator Harkin has provided incredible leadership in this area by ushering into law legislation that gives low and middle-income Americans the chance to afford an education and pursue the American dream. We should take pride in the great progress we have made in ensuring access to college in recent history. More than 70% of our young people now start some kind of advanced training or education within two years of receiving their high school diplomas. And it is important that we prevent financial burdens that heap further debt on students and graduates when higher education is the second largest expense most individuals will face in their lifetime.
Ensuring continued access to higher education by passing the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act enables Congress to move on to the next critical step in higher education policy which is empowering students and families to get the maximum value out of their education dollars. This is especially important at time when unemployment is in the double digits for young people in Oregon and student debt is at an all time high. We need market solutions to bring down higher education costs and ensure value for the higher education dollar by connecting the dots between higher education, completion, and employment outcomes. Access to higher education is critical, but too many students fall through the cracks before graduation and too many graduates are unable to secure employment. For many students, access means very little without a degree and job to show for it. But prospective students and their families often make the decision to enroll in a program with incomplete information because these accountability measures simply aren’t available. To tackle that problem, Senators Wyden and Marco Rubio (R-Florida), have co-sponsored the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, to insert more transparency in higher education by showing how specific programs and institutions compare in regards to: cost and financial aid available, completion rates, debt, and employment and earnings outcomes. The Wyden/Rubio bill has even garnered the attention of notable education experts and media voices including Frank Bruni of the New York Times, Amy Laitinen of Education Sector, and, most recently, Mark Kantrowitz of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org and Mark Schneider of the American Institutes for Research.
Watch highlights of Senator Wyden’s speech:
From Portland to Medford to Eugene, in April Wyden met with students, college guidance counselors, and college presidents to discuss the importance of transparency in higher education and his Student Right to Know Before You Go Act. This bipartisan legislation will ensure future students and their families can make well-informed decisions about such things as post-graduation average annual earnings, credit accumulation and graduation rates, average cost of the program and average debt accumulation.
Throughout the events, Wyden heard many personal stories from students and families about the cost of a college education—the second largest expense most families will face in their life time.
Without congressional action, the Stafford loan interest rates are set to increase this summer from 3.4% to 6.8%, raising costs by $1,000 a year for approximately 119,220 students in our state. We want to hear from Oregonians. In the comments section below, tell us your story what doubling student loan rates would mean for you. Senator Wyden may share some of these stories in a speech on the Senate floor or here on his blog.
Tell us your #DontDoubleMyRate story: