Bonoff welcomes Obama student loan limits

This just in from state Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, the chairwoman of the Senate higher education committee:

Minnesota leads in addressing college affordability

State Senator Terri Bonoff, Chair of the Minnesota Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development committee, welcomed an executive order by President Barack Obama to limit student loan payments to no more than 10 percent of a borrower’s monthly income, yet also recognized the logistical challenges that will delay implementation to 2015.

“Thousands of Minnesota families are struggling to repay student loans. Limiting student payments to 10 percent is one way to help, but we also took action this year to bring down the cost of college in Minnesota,” said Sen. Bonoff.

Minnesota legislation to reduce the cost of attending college include:

  • New legislation directing the Office of Higher Education to provide a plan for refinancing student loans.  Students will be able to refinance high interest loans through the office of Higher Education that range as high as 12% down to 3% by no later than 2015.
  • The creation of the Minnesota PIPELINE Project to launch a dual education system to help students “earn while they learn,” and ensure that Minnesota graduates are equipped with the skills necessary for the 21st century workforce.
  • A new law will requiring MnSCU to improve their credit transfer policy and ensure that students are not wasting money on redundant courses. Specifically, the bills requires the MnSCU board to develop and implement a baccalaureate plan to ensure students graduate within 60 credits after transferring to a system university following completion of an associate’s degree in the system.
  • In 2013, legislative approval of a two-year tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses.

Minnesota students have the third highest amount of debt when they leave college with a four-year degree as well as the fifth highest amount of total students that leave college with debt.

“If we want to Minnesota to be successful in the 21st century, we must provide access to affordable post-secondary education for each and every Minnesotan,” Bonoff said.