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Democrats Propose Student Loan Relief

Measure to cut interest rates for Alaskans who put their training to work in Alaska

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Representative David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks) announced that they have pre-filed a bill to reduce the cost of student loans for Alaskans who put their training to work in Alaska.

“For Alaska to be competitive, we need to make sure our workforce gets the training it needs and that our students put their skills to work in Alaska,” said Rep. Guttenberg. “This bill makes it easier for Alaskans to stay here or to return to help build our state.”

Under the proposed legislation, all Alaskan students would receive a two percent reduction on their Alaska student loans for the duration of time they live and work in Alaska. The bill also extends the rate reduction to vocational training in addition to loans for traditional colleges and universities. This will give all Alaskans who want to open new career doors the incentive to apply their skills in Alaska.

At a time when used car loans are available at three percent, Alaska student loan holders are paying upwards of seven and eight percent for vocational and college education. Currently, Alaska offers only a one-half percent discount on Alaska student loans to students who return to Alaska after college.

“Money shouldn’t be a bar to job training and college. Something’s wrong when student loans are double the rate of a used car loan,” said Gara. “With this bill, we hope to show that Alaska values job training and education.”

“Instead of making a profit from students paying interest, the state would benefit far more by encouraging these skilled Alaskans to stay in Alaska,” said House Democratic Whip Berta Gardner (Anchorage), another sponsor of the legislation.

House Democratic Leader Beth Kerttula (Juneau) and Representative Lindsey Holmes (D-Anchorage) are also primary sponsors of the legislation which will be assigned a bill number and released to the public this Friday.

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