Dealing with massive student loan debt was top of mind for Senator Doug Jones and students in Huntsville today.
According to Experian, Alabama is in the top 10 states for the largest increase in student loan debt in the U.S. The average student loan debt for people Alabama sits at over $35,000.
Many students are concerned about the rising cost of college and think their education is only looked at as a business opportunity.
Jarvis Davis, a Junior at Alabama A&M University, said, “A lot of us do go out and work in the work field, but then we can never pay off our student loans. We work our whole lives just to pay off the education that we received, and that is not the purpose of getting that education in the first place.”
Senator Jones says he thinks being more transparent about how much it costs to go to college and how much students will make once they graduate will give people a better idea of whether or not to take out certain loans.
Some students say they don’t expect for everyone to get to go to college for free but feel like there can be more done to help.
“There’s definitely room for improvement. You look at other countries, and they have students going to colleges for free and getting an education that will translate into them getting jobs and being able to effectively help their country,” said Davis.
Senator Jones is part of the HELP Committee. He says they are working to do more for education like making Pell Grants more accessible to students. He says one of their main focuses right now is simplifying the FAFSA form to just one page.
“They can make sure they got it correctly. We can get information from other agencies, so people can have access to not only the loans but also grant monies and scholarship monies that are out there,” said Senator Jones.