Making College Affordable
Arkansas ranks second to last among all states in the percent of people with a college degree. This means that many Arkansan families and young adults are denied the improved employment prospects and higher incomes that are closely linked to college completion.
The trends are worrisome: over the past three decades, public college tuition has more than doubled. Too many families across Arkansas are finding that higher education is simply too expensive to obtain.
We must fight to make sure that every hard-working Arkansan can go to college regardless of their family's income status or background. We must ensure that these Arkansans are able to graduate without falling deeply into debt.
I am proud of what we have been able to achieve in the educational system in Helena. 99 percent of our students attend college. The college graduation rate of our low-income students is four times higher than the national average for low-income students. Our students have earned over $15 million dollars in scholarships over the past five years.
We must replicate these results across Arkansas. We must fight for legislation that will:
Eliminate tuition at in-state public colleges and universities for families with annual incomes up to $125,000.
Allow student borrowers to refinance their loans or restructure high-interest debt.
Extend and expand the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which funds and supports career and technical education programs, so that students have other educational options and opportunities besides the traditional four-year college education.