Making College Affordable
Utilizing a combination of tax incentives, expanded Pell Grants and a streamlined loan application process, Raja’s four point-plan plan for affordable college would tear down the barriers that are contributing to our nation’s increasing income inequality and hurting our economic growth by helping more children from working families obtain a higher education.
“Study after study shows that a higher education paves the way to career success and higher incomes,” Raja said in releasing his four-point plan. “And by helping more families afford a higher education for their children, we can help make sure that the U.S. remains the leading economic power in the world.”
The Raja Krishnamoorthi Plan for Affordable College includes:
- A new Opportunity Tax Credit that allows families with up to $200,000 in annual income to claim a total of $15,000 in tax credits per student. These tax credits, of which a large percentage could be refundable, would reduce the amount of debt that students would incur in order to pay for college.
- Increasing the maximum Pell Grant by 75 percent — increasing investment in Pell Grants would enable more low income families to afford sending students to college.
- Creating a 401k-style plan whereby employers match employee payments on student debt, with contributions exempted from income and payroll taxes. Businesses would benefit through tax incentives to hire a more educated workforce while helping their employees to retire their student debt.
- Streamlining the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form through the use of prior-year data already available to the IRS. This would eliminate many questions on the application and allow students to more easily access financial aid.
Raja’s four- point plan for affordable college would be fully paid for by cutting unnecessary military programs including, but not limited to, littoral combat ships and the Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. This could free up tens of billions of dollars in the next decade that would be better invested in helping more students attend college.
“As the child of immigrants to this country who struggled financially to get by, loans and scholarships enabled me to get a higher education,” Raja said. “Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more difficult for families like mine to afford a higher education today.”
“By changing our spending priorities in Washington and providing the right incentives to families and businesses, we can make sure that the next generation of Americans has the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.”