Letter: Keeping young Alaskans in state

November 21, 2013 

Regarding Alaska Student Loans,

Our Legislature should revise the Alaska Student Loans to encourage our best and brightest to return or remain in Alaska after graduation. We’re losing our children to the Lower 48 and elsewhere.

Alaskans benefitted from past regulations that allowed college graduates to reduce the principal of their loan by each year they worked and lived in state by 10 percent up to 50 percent. This encouraged our children to return to begin their postgraduate lives, careers, families and set down adult roots in our state. This was law until 1987, when the Legislature repealed this option by one vote. It’s now 26 years later — our children continue to leave.

The Alaska Performance Scholarship program is only for Alaska colleges and is fine for those whose choice of study is available here. If, however, your career choice is architecture, law, medicine — one has to leave.

I believe that Rep. Les Gara’s plan to lower the interest rates for our students to a reasonable interest rate is an excellent start — that’s a good beginning for a bipartisan effort.

— Sam Combs


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