Sen. Daughtry appointed to commission to review college affordability

Posted: October 08, 2021 | Education and Cultural Affairs, Senator Daughtry

AUGUSTA — Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick, was named the chair of the Commission To Study College Affordability and College Completion by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. Sen. Daughtry will serve as the Senate chair of the commission that was established by legislation she sponsored, LD 247, “An Act To Improve Maine’s Education System.” Sen. Daughtry also serves on the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

“More and more careers need education and training beyond high school,” said Sen. Daughtry. “As Mainers decide to invest in their education, we need to make sure that we as lawmakers understand the full cost. The student debt crisis is one of the greatest economic hurdles impacting people of all ages, especially younger Mainers, today. The incredible burden of education loans impacts our young people for years after their schooling ends. We need to study how this debt impacts Mainers and our state’s economy. I look forward to our findings.”

In 2021, the total student debt amount held by Americans grew to $1.73 trillion, which is 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 one of the highest averages in the nation. Meanwhile, many Mainers find great paying careers in high-demand fields that require little to no higher education, but apprenticeships or other credentialing paths instead.

Sen. Daughtry will be joined by stakeholders, including other members of the Legislature, an educator representing Maine’s higher education institutions, a financial aid expert, a high school guidance counselor, higher education policy experts, and leaders from the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the President of Maine Maritime Academy.  

The Commission to Study College Affordability and College Completion had previously met beginning in 2014. The commission will review and update the previously released report and study college debt amounts in Maine from various colleges and universities in the state, education debt amounts for both graduates and those who don’t finish their degrees, the impact of education debt on Mainers, and the potential impact of no-cost community college programs.

An updated report from the commission is due to the Legislature by January 2022.