Fighting for Good Schools and Affordable College

I’m a proud product of Dubuque public schools. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from quality teachers and inspiring mentors. I wouldn’t be here today without them. We must give every child that same chance at success that comes from a quality education.

I went to college here in Iowa and I know firsthand how difficult affording college can be. Like tens of thousands of Iowans, I’m still struggling to pay back my student loans, without which I would never have been able to afford college.

We need to invest in our public schools to put our students on the path to a good job or college after graduation. That starts by expanding access to Pre-K, which jumpstarts learning and provides a solid foundation for a child to grow. And we must ensure that college is affordable for all Iowans, including relief for those burdened with student loan debt and greater transparency so that students understand what they’ll be paying for.

Expanding Access to Pre-K

High-quality Pre-K is proven to be a critical factor in increasing a student’s ability to succeed.1 It’s time we prioritize investing in early education so that we can extend this foundation to as many children as possible. In Congress, I’ll support legislation to make quality Pre-K accessible and affordable for more families, which will also reduce the burden of childcare costs faced by working parents.

Affordable Higher Education

Every year, students graduate from college eager to jumpstart their careers. But increasing college tuition costs leave many of them buried under a mountain of student loan debt that limits their opportunities.

It’s no secret that the cost of college has become way too high for way too many. The situation is made worse by a lack of transparency on the part of colleges and universities, leaving students unsure of what they are paying for. No student should be forced to make the life-changing decision on where they’ll go to college and how much they’ll have to pay for it without access to detailed information on what their costs will be. Greater transparency from colleges and universities will ensure that students and families know exactly what they must pay and it will create competition that will help keep future costs down.

We must also ensure that students who take out college loans are able to pay them off in an appropriate amount of time. That’s why I’ll support legislation to allow students to refinance their student loan debt at current interest rates—much like one could do with a home mortgage—and I’ll fiercely oppose attempts to tax the interest paid on student loan debt.

Career and Technical Education

Here in Eastern Iowa and across the county, we have countless businesses and manufacturers looking for qualified workers with specific technical skills and training. We have many motivated high school graduates who want to enter the workforce for whom college may not be the best path. And we have nontraditional students, like adults looking to embark on a new career path or gain new skills to enhance their potential in their current field. We can’t let their talent go to waste.

We must have robust career and technical education opportunities that train students with the specialized skills needed to fill available jobs and grow our economy. In Congress, I’ll support funding for these programs and make sure that our students have access to the training they need. We must also support and foster partnerships between local businesses and schools so that students have access to internships, job training opportunities, and apprenticeship programs, a key link between businesses and prospective workers. These measures also support our local businesses, allowing them to hire a qualified workforce right here at home rather than looking elsewhere to grow.

  1. “A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last,” Elissa Nadworny, NPR, 11/17/2016