PRESS RELEASE: Commission to study college affordability holds first meeting

PRESS RELEASE: Commission to study college affordability holds first meeting

AUGUSTA — The college affordability commission held its first meeting Tuesday to begin its work examining strategies to make college more affordable and increase degree attainment for Maine students.

“Many Mainers recognize the importance of a college degree in this changing, competitive 21st century economy,” said Democratic Senator Rebecca Millett of Cape Elizabeth, the Senate Chair of the Commission. “Degree affordability will directly impact whether our children and our neighbors can pursue higher education. I am delighted to have so many smart, talented, and motivated people working together to tackle this issue.”

Statistics show that the average debt for Maine college students had jumped 25 percent since 2008 to nearly $30,000–putting Maine at the 7th highest debt per student in the nation.

In its first meeting the Commission to Study College Affordability and College Completion heard from a panel of current students, parents, and non-traditional students to help them identify the current status of affordability. The Commission is expected to make recommendations on the development of strategies to keep the cost of college in Maine affordable and to increase the graduation rate of students enrolled in higher education.

“College debt is crippling my generation and stifling our ability to fully participate in Maine’s economy,” said Democratic Representative Mattie Daughtry of Brunswick, the House Chair of the Commission. “As a young person who is still paying off college loans, I am 100-percent committed to the important work ahead of us. Our current post-secondary education model is not sustainable in the 21st century.”

The thirteen-member commission was created with the passage of LD 1849, “Resolve, To Establish the Commission to Study College Affordability and College Completion,” and will meet again in September.

Contact:

Ericka Dodge [Millett], 232-5892; Ann Kim [Daughtry] 233-1838

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Matthea “Mattie” Daughtry, a Brunswick native, is the State Representative for the Maine House District 66

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