A member of the Iowa House is joining Democratic lawmakers from across the country in submitting resolutions to state lawmakers to discuss the issue of student debt. State Representative Chris Hall, a Democrat from Sioux City, is also the grants coordinator for Western Iowa Tech Community College.
During a media call with national reporters, Hall says a mountain of student debt is preventing many college graduates from entering the middle class. He says he plans to start a conversation about the problem when the Iowa Legislature convenes in January.
“If you form it as a resolution, it initially brings more people into the conversation, and from there we can get into the details of how a split Republican-Democratic legislature wants to look at the issue,” Hall says. He says community colleges draw people from low economic backgrounds and debt can sometimes interrupt their studies.
“It’s often the case that one emergency, whether it’s a sickness in the family or a death or some unexpected life event, at a community college that often throws a student out of the track they are in trying to attain that degree,” according to Hall. Figures from the Institute for College Access and Success indicate the average student debt in Iowa is nearly $30,000. They also show that 68 percent of college students in the state are burdened with debt then they leave school.
The 30-year-old Hall says he will introduce a resolution during the upcoming session of the legislature to get a conversation about debt-free college going, and he hopes that will lead to legislative action.
Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio