Representative Salud Carbajal introduced the Degrees Not Debt Act on Tuesday which aims to reduce student loan debt for low- and middle-income college students.
The legislation hopes to give more money to these students by restoring the financial power of Pell Grants and increasing the Pell Grant amount to $10,000, which is the cost of the average in-state tuition at four-year public schools.
“It is basically helping students have more access to financial aid,” Carbajal said. “Low income and middle-class students, so that they don't have to take on more crushing student loan debt like they are taking on today.”
Carbajal said he has an idea of where to get the extra funds.
“Well I propose that we find different sources of revenue starting with the $1.5 trillion tax break that was given to the top 1percent corporations and earners in the United States in the last congress,” he said.
He said this could take back some of the money and the government could redirect it so students can have more financial aid.
“I think our most precious resource is our young people, and they need to have opportunities to go achieve and obtain their higher education so that they can continue to contribute to our communities, our society and our nation,” Carbajal said. “The more financial aid that we can provide to our young people, so they don't have to get student loan debt and they can obtain their higher education degrees, is golden.”
The bill is meant to help the nationwide student debt crisis.
An identical bill has been introduced by New Mexico Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich.