CHESTERTOWN, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Washington College President Sheila C. Bair hosted Washington College students and leadership from University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Chesapeake College, Wor-Wic Community College and Salisbury University in a discussion on ways that students in Maryland can reach their higher education goals without saddling themselves with debt.
“We need to remember that we’ve taught our children that the American dream is achievable for those individuals willing to pursue an education and work hard. We simply must make good on those promises,” said Senator Cardin. “Maryland’s students and their families shouldn’t have to burden themselves with generational debt to pursue their educational goals. Fortunately, on our Eastern Shore, there are a variety of options for students to earn a quality education without insurmountable debt. These institutions have many efforts underway to keep higher education attainable to all, and each provide high-quality educational options tailored to the needs of individual students.”
“I am so pleased that Senator Cardin has asked Washington College to host this discussion, because this topic is front and center on our campus and within our alumni and leadership,” said Washington College President Sheila Bair. “Just last week, we announced that 119 of our graduating seniors will see their federal debt burden reduced by 10 percent, thanks to donors who have funded our new Dam the Debt program. Innovative thinking and meaningful action are what’s needed to start solving this problem, and we are determined to help our students graduate not only with an exceptional liberal arts education, but also with a student loan burden that is manageable, not crippling.”
“We have got to get serious about higher education debt now so we don’t leave a mounting crisis to future generations. Fundamentally, we need to find ways to better provide for debt-free college education in America,” said Senator Cardin. “There are lots of innovative proposals out there, such as President Obama’s ‘America’s College Promise’ plan to offer tuition-free community college for responsible students and other concepts that would provide higher education opportunities in exchange for public service. We need to take a serious look at these types of ideas, because the amount of debt that most of our students compile is shockingly high. And those debt levels affect numerous other life decisions that, in turn, significantly affect the American economy, from buying cars and homes to having children.”
“I am a big believer that there can be no higher priority than education, which is the great equalizer in our society,” Senator Cardin noted. “There should be a clear path forward for every family to provide opportunities for higher education, and to allow every student the chance to invest in themselves without potentially leveraging their futures.”