ST. PAUL, MINN – In a bold move that would have a large impact on Greater Minnesota communities, Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) had a bill hearing in the Senate on Tuesday that would help address the staggering amount of student loan debt burdening hundreds of thousands throughout Greater Minnesota. The bill creates a student loan forgiveness program for workers in Greater Minnesota and aims to address the following:
- Stem the growing sum of student debt in Greater Minnesota. The average student debt total is $30,894, ranking Minnesota 3rd in the nation. (OHE Report, Oct. 2015)
- Support Greater Minnesota communities by attracting and retaining an educated workforce.
- Serve as a tool for economic development throughout the state, allowing recent graduates to play a larger role in local economies.
“The amount of student loan debt Minnesotans are carrying is staggering – it’s accumulated to about $27 billion. It is incumbent upon the state legislature to take action to remove some of this burden. Lessening the student loan debt isn’t just good for individuals and family budgets – it puts more money back into the economy – and in Greater Minnesota that could be the difference between just surviving – and thriving,” said Sen. Eken.
Sen. Eken adds that forgiving the student loans of graduates who settle and find work in Greater Minnesota will greatly help smaller communities attract talent – a problem that disproportionally affects rural parts of the state.