Shanley bill would forgive up to $30K in students loans

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The average student loan debt per student in Rhode Island is about $35,000, and a bill from Representative Evan Shanley seeks to ease that cost. The “Rhode Island Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program” (2017-H 5889) would relieve students of a portion of their loans.

To qualify for the program, individuals must have graduated high school and college, live and work (provided they are employed) in Rhode Island and be making less than $60,000 adjusted for inflation per year.

“The idea here is to start a conversation…as to what we’re going to do to make sure Rhode Islanders stay here,” Shanley said.

The program would pay up to 50 percent of a student’s income driven repayment, up to a limit of $500 per month. For those not on an income contingent plan, it pays up to $250 a month. The payments would apply for five years for those who meet all the criteria – a maximum lump sum of $30,000 – and three years – a maximum of $9,000 – for those not on income contingent plans.

Shanley said he chose forgiving half the payment because he wanted students to have incentives to keep their debts as low as possible or pursue applying for their scholarships on their own. He felt that incentive wouldn’t exist if the state made the full payment. Plus, the state must be able to afford it.

“I hope we can get to a point where public education can be free but we’re not there yet. I think we need to do something immediately, but it has to be what we can afford to do,” he said.

In addition, the $60,000 or less figure was chosen as that is where Shanley in his personal experience has seen students become more comfortable with their income and finances. Though the bill is starting with a narrower, Rhode Island focused group of people, Shanley said it has room to grow.

“I think next logical class of people would be those who graduated from Rhode Island but went to college out of state and then come back home,” he said.

Shanley said general funds, including the additional online sales tax, could help pay for the proposal. He also said money could potentially come from revenue if marijuana is eventually legalized and regulated in the state. He added that he is still waiting on a fiscal note to determine a cost for the program, but hopes that between his bill, other legislation in the House, and Governor Gina Raimondo’s free tuition proposal, a compromise between all avenues that will assist students with their financial struggles can be put forth.

The governor’s office is not currently offering comment on the bill. Charles Kelley, director of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, said RISLA has seen the bill and has begun working on determining how many students in Rhode Island have outstanding student loans and how many could be impacted by Shanley’s proposed program.

The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee and is cosponsored by Representatives Julie Casimiro, Camille Vella-Wilkinson, Joseph Solomon and Susan Donovan.

Comments

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richardcorrente

Dear State Rep Shanley,

Your bill sounds great but aren't you really saying "The taxpayers should pay more in taxes so that certain individuals can pay less?" Is that fair? R.I. taxpayers are paying way too much already, aren't they? Having them pay for the student loans of someone else is like having the taxpayers pay for the credit card debt of someone else, a debt that is already subsidized by the taxpayer. Evan, it isn't the taxpayers debt. The taxpayer never received the education value. The student did. Why should the taxpayer pay?

I don't see it.

Sorry old friend. I supported your campaign but I don't support you on this one.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, March 16
Thecaptain

Its also like having your neighbors paying their property taxes, car taxes, and utility taxes to support the municipality services, but you don't pay your obligation to the municipality, yet receive the same services. I wonder if this getting through to anyone?

Friday, March 17
CrickeeRaven

Hello again Thecaptain:

Your continued efforts to tell the truth about the defeated mayoral candidate are appreciated, and they highlight something about his behavior that you and I already knew: When presented the facts that prove him a liar, the defeated candidate just goes silent. That shows the message is getting through to him: He makes a concerted and intentional effort NOT to answer for his falsehoods, inversely proportional to all the time he takes to compose messages on other topics.

By leaving your statements unchallenged, he is proving that you are correct.

Keep up the good work.

Friday, March 17
JohnStark

In a state never seeming to lack for dumb legislative ideas, this one might just take the cake. Student loans, or any loans, are contractual agreements between a willing borrower and willing lender. Barring fraud or other misrepresentation, there is really no role for government here. None. As in any endeavor in which the government inserts itself, the quality of higher education has deteriorated badly over the years while costs have risen exponentially. If Rep, Shanley was truly interested in "...starting a conversation" about incenting young people to remain in RI, or return to it, he would aggressively address RI's confiscatory tax structure while simultaneously eliminating a myriad of crippling regulations. I won't hold my breath. Presently, RI is seen as a Handout Haven. Shanley's proposal does little but confirm that perception,

Friday, March 17
NoStoryHere

Get rid if the corruption in RI, idiot politicians like Raimondo, Shanley, Wilkinson, Solomon, Donovan, and people would stay in RI without having to add more taxes for the rest to pay for the few.That is the problem you idiots!!

BE RESPONSIBLE, PAY YOUR OWN WAY IN LIFE SHOULD BE THE STATE MOTTO, AND PEOPLE MIGHT STAY HERE ...YOU DOPES.

Sunday, March 19
bendover

Edgar Bergen, (George Nee) and Charlie McCarthy (rep. Shanley)...That certainly didn't take long for the true colors to show up...Another minion from the Warwick delegation...Stark is correct, this makes as much sense as screen hatches on a submarine.

Wednesday, March 22