From: The Honorable Keith Ellison
Sent By:

Bill: H.R. 5756
Date: 7/29/2016

Make Debt Free College a Reality: Encourage State Reinvestment

Dear Colleague:

Public colleges and universities have historically received significant support from state governments to finance higher education programs. Collectively, public institutions of higher learning serve 75% of all American postsecondary students at 705 four-year colleges and universities, 1,055 two-year community colleges, and 257 technical colleges and career centers. 

According to a May 2014 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 48 states are spending less per student than they did before the recession.
In fact, the average state is spending 23% LESS PER student. 

For families, this means that tuition costs are rising rapidly and that the cost of tuition discourages many young and returning students from applying to college. This is especially true for first generation students. Across
the country, the average student graduates from a public college or university with $28,950 in student debt, which makes it very difficult for recent grads to get ahead. It’s time to put students on a sustainable path towards a college education which results
in a degree, not debt.

In order to help address this problem, we introduced the
Degrees Not Debt Act. This legislation would encourage states to maintain or lower college tuition costs by creating a state-federal partnership program for states that agree to end tuition increases at their public colleges and universities.
The bill sets federal matching rates based on how much funding a state provides for public higher education operating support on a per student basis, compared and indexed to the maximum Pell Grant award. Finally, it ensures that students from families who
make 350% of the FPL or below have their secondary costs—like books and housing—covered.

Please join us in reinvesting in our future, by cosponsoring
The Degrees Not Debt Act. If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Alicia Molt (Pocan) or Abby Schanfield (Ellison).


Mark Pocan                                                             Keith Ellison
Member of Congress                                                Member of Congress