Each year high school seniors are encouraged by guidance counselors, teachers, and most adults in their lives to apply for college. Most 17-18 year olds are ecstatic about leaving their childhood homes and embarking into adult life, and fail to realize the financial implications their college experience will put on their young adult life.
Teenagers are expected to make a drastic decision about the course of their future that will most likely leave them indebted for the majority of their lives. Even with financial aid and scholarships, a Maine resident will be expected to pay an average of $11,031 for instate tuition, and an average of $38,070 for private tuition, CollegeBoard reports.
A college education and degree is undoubtedly valuable, but the burden it places on graduates is unacceptable. The U.S. Department of Education reports that Maine college graduates owe an average of $33,000 in loans, while making an average of $38,000 per year.
Governor Janet Mills expressed her intention to improve Maine’s college debt relief program during her State of the State address this month. The proposed $42.1 million dollar plan would supply recent college graduates living and working in Maine with up to $2,000 a year in college debt relief, with the lifetime benefit capping at $25,000. This would be claimed by itemizing student loan payments on annual tax returns.
Action on the student loan debt crisis is long overdue, with countless empty promises of relief. Most college graduates are so overwhelmed by their debt that they cannot envision buying a home or starting a family. Without any solidified action at the national level towards student loan debt, it’s imperative that Maine gives college graduates hope for their futures.