Education Committee talks student debt reduction

Austin Baird

JUNEAU -- Questions of cost surround a bill that would cut interest rates on student loans held by college graduates who are residents of Alaska.

The revised bill was held by the House Education Committee on Monday.

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Les Gara says HB272 would ease the debt burden on students. He also says the plan gives a financial incentive for college graduates to choose Alaska as home.

The bill would apply to Alaska residents who graduate in state or return to the state.

There were questions about cost. Gara said the plan costs less than the originally estimated $9.7 million per year because a commission appointed by the Legislature would prorate reductions if a glut of graduates qualifies in a given year.

A fiscal note for the new proposal is being calculated.

Associated Press