Here in Eastern Washington, I’m proud to represent so many higher education institutions that are working every day to help students meet their full potential and live out their passions. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. I worked my way through school and just paid off my student loans last year. When it comes time for our students to graduate, we must make sure student debt isn’t holding them back. That’s why I am working hard to ensure that college is affordable and that there are jobs here in our community for our graduates. Here’s how:
- I voted to increase the maximum Pell grant award to $6,195 for the 2019-2020 award year. This was included in a funding bill that the President recently signed into law.
- I’ve also led to get legislation signed into law that ensures Pell Grants are available year round.
- I recently supported funding to support programs like TRIO and GEAR UP, which provide resources to first-generation college students.
- I am working to provide more funding for alternative education options like trade schools, vocational schools, and community college.
- I voted to require yearly financial counseling, which will make sure college students have access to the information they need to make smart financial decisions and reduce the risk of over-borrowing.
- I have cosponsored legislation that extends funding for the Perkins Loan Program, which offers need-based, low-income loans to college students.
Traveling around our communities and meeting with local college students, I’ve listened to their concerns — they want to find a good-paying job when they graduate. Fortunately, because of our work to grow the economy, today’s graduates are entering a job market that’s better than students of the past decade could’ve imagined. Thanks to tax reform and our pro-growth policies:
- Unemployment rates are dropping across every county in Eastern Washington, which means college graduates can stay and work in our communities.
- Wages are rising — the largest increase in a decade. Wages have increased in every Eastern Washington county between 3-9%.
- The youth unemployment rate has hit a 52-year low.
- For the first time EVER in America, there are more job openings than people looking for work.
In our economy built for growth, students and recent graduates are Better Off Now. Students are graduating with the best job market in years and employers are competing for good, well-educated employees.
To learn more, CLICK HERE to read my op-ed in the Spokesman-Review about lowering the cost of higher education for our students.