Senator Warns that Student Debt Prevents Many from Buying a Home, Starting a Business, Starting a Family

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Student Debt. The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing titled “Examining Student Loan Servicers and Their Impact on Workers.” Earlier in the week, Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) convened a listening session to hear from borrowers across the country about their experiences with student loan debt and its impact on their lives. During his opening remarks, Brown noted that student debt is preventing many Americans from “pursuing the American Dream,” making it difficult to purchase a home, start a business, get married, or start a family. The hearing focused heavily on the topic of student debt cancellation, and who it would benefit the most. Democrats on the committee continued to call on the Biden administration to forgive a “meaningful” amount of outstanding student loans, and suggested that cancellation of at least $50,000 would ease the disproportionate burden the debt places on Black borrowers. However, Republicans on the committee expressed their concern that debt cancellation would benefit wealthy households most and shift the cost from white-collar workers with advanced degrees to taxpayers. Read more from Roll Call.

Senators Collins and Hassan Introduce College Savings Bill. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a bipartisan bill that would cut taxes for families who save for college and allow families to roll unused savings into retirement accounts. This bill, titled the Helping Parents Save for College Act, intends to ease the burden of the increasingly high price of a college education by encouraging families to invest in a 529 education savings account and providing tax cuts to those families. In a press release, Collins stated, “529 plans are a great option for parents to save for college expenses, but uncertainty about whether their children will choose to pursue postsecondary education years in the future can be a deterrent to opening and investing in an account. Our bipartisan bill would address this barrier by improving the flexibility of 529 plans for low- and middle-income households, helping more parents to financially prepare and more children to achieve their dreams.” To read a summary of the bill, click here.

House Ed and Labor Scott and Labor Secretary Walsh Host Workforce Development Roundtable. House Education and Labor Committee Chair Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh visited Virginia’s Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) and The Apprentice School to host a roundtable with students, higher education professionals and local business leaders. According to a press release by the House Education and Labor Committee, the roundtable served to discuss how workforce development programs are “essential to ensuring workers can access better-paying jobs and businesses have enough qualified applicants to fill job openings.” Speaking about the training programs, Walsh said, “Thomas Nelson Community College and The Apprentice School have been a role model for expanding and diversifying apprenticeships and are a shining example of the workforce development investments needed to grow our nation’s middle class.”

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of May 9, 2022. For more information, please visit:


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