Gov. Mills signs into law Sen. Daughtry bill to study impacts of student debt on Maine college graduates
AUGUSTA — On July 6, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick. LD 247, “An Act To Improve Maine’s Education System,” will study the impact of education-related debt on Mainers by reinstating the Commission to Study College Affordability and College Completion.
“More and more good-paying careers require education and training beyond high school. As more Mainers look to invest in their careers, we need to make sure we understand how the cost of education, and the burden of student loans that come with it, is impacting Maine workers and our economy,” said Sen. Daughtry. “This new law is a step in the right direction.”
In 2021, the total student debt amount held by Americans grew to $1.7 trillion, second only to mortgages, and higher than credit card debt. In Maine, the average student loan borrower has more than $33,000 in school debt, which is the sixth highest average in the nation.
As amended, LD 247 would reinstate the Commission to Study College Affordability and College Completion, which had previously met beginning in 2014, and add a high school guidance counselor to the commission’s membership. The commission would review and update the previously released report; study college debt amounts in Maine from various colleges and universities in the state; study education debt amounts for both graduates and those who don’t finish their degrees; study the impact of education debt on Mainers; and study the potential impact of no-cost community college programs. An updated report from the commission would be due to the Legislature by January 2022.
The Financial Authority of Maine (FAME) and the University of Maine System testified in favor of the bill.
As an emergency measure, the law goes into effect immediately.