Monday, December 5, 2022

Play

A Louisiana Public Service Commission runoff could affect energy policy, LGBTQ advocates await final passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, and democracy gets a voter-approved overhaul in Oregon.

Play

An election law theory critics say could cause chaos is before the Supreme Court, lawmakers condemn former President Trump's idea to suspend the Constitution, and Democrats switch up the presidential primary calendar.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

WA Low-Interest Loans Would Cut Student Debt

Play

Monday, June 13, 2022   

The cost of higher education is a major headache for people, even years after they've graduated. A program in Washington state aims to make borrowing for college a little easier.

State lawmakers passed a measure this year that will establish a 1% interest rate student loan program. It will get started with a one time $150 million investment from the state, after an actuary analyzes the plan.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Pat Sullivan - D-Covington - said the state had big budget surplus this year.

"We had a decent amount of one time money that was available," said Sullivan, "and I really thought that putting it into a student loan account for 1% student loans just made a lot of sense. The timing was just perfect."

The state had a $15 billion surplus to work with during the 2022 session.

Most Republicans voted against the legislation, saying the money should have gone back to Washingtonians through tax breaks.

Washingtonians owe an average of about $33,000 in student debt, according to the website Student Loan Hero. Sullivans said that debt is a burden for people long after they leave college.

"Interest rates are too high," said Sullivan. "You're having people graduate unable to take out a loan even for a car in some instances, and buying a home is way out of reach given the debt load that they graduate with."

The Biden administration is considering canceling some amount of people's student debt - possibly up to $10,000.

Sullivan - who is also the Majority Leader in the state House - said that's great, but his 1% loan program aims to help students going forward.

"That'll help a lot of students but this is into the future," said Sullivan, "and so until the federal government can come up with a better solution for students, then they're going to continue to rack up debt."

A report on how the program could work long-term, and what funding level it might need, is due on the governor's desk December 1.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.




get more stories like this via email
Small cell facilities are often attached to utility poles within the public right-of-way. (Oxford Science/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Thousands of wireless transmitters could pop up across unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County in the next few years if the Board of Supervisors ap…


Health and Wellness

As winter looms in Missouri, health officials are expressing concern over the potential for three viruses to impact facilities. This season has …

Social Issues

Advocates for children say up to 7,000 students in New Hampshire public schools are going hungry following the rejection of a federal program for low-…


Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 50-year ruling that guaranteed the right to abortion, emboldened conservative groups now want the courts to impose further restrictions. (Inna/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

By Carrie Baker for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Roz Brown for Texas News Service reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News Service …

Social Issues

For the first time in almost 50 years, Iowa will not hold the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses for Democrats. The national party has ousted …

The CDC reports more than 19,000 people nationwide were hospitalized for flu in the week ending November 26. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Nebraska is one of a dozen states experiencing "very high" levels of influenza, and the highest percentage of cases has been in children and young …

Environment

Tribal representatives from across the Northwest are flying into Washington, D.C. this week to discuss how mine waste in British Columbia is …

Social Issues

Indigenous activists in the Commonwealth are calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation to strengthen protections for Native American remains…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021