NEW YORK TIMES: Cuomo to Offer Plan to Cut College Graduates’ Debt

Career College Central Summary:

  • Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will propose legislation to ease the debt burden of thousands of college graduates, an administration official said.
  • Under the governor’s proposal, to be unveiled in his State of the State address on Wednesday, the state would cover two years of loan payments for graduates of New York State colleges who make less than $50,000 a year, continue to live in the state and are enrolled in the federal Pay as You Earn program, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposal has not been released.
  • Roughly 60 percent of students who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in New York in 2013 took on debt, and the average amount was $26,381, according to a report by the Institute for College Access and Success. The report did not include graduates from for-profit colleges, who generally accumulate more debt.
  • The governor’s office projects that up to 7,100 people would benefit in the program’s first year, increasing to 24,000 by 2020, as more students hear about the program and enroll in Pay as You Earn to qualify. The state would pay an average of $3,500 toward each participant’s loans.
  • Students who finish two- or four-year degree programs in 2015 or later would be eligible for the assistance. Students who do not graduate — who statistically are more likely to be from low-income families — would not be helped.
  • There are many existing federal and state loan repayment or loan forgiveness plans. Under the Pay as You Earn program, for instance, people pay up to 10 percent of their discretionary income, defined as income in excess of 150 percent of poverty level. Any debt not paid after 20 years is forgiven.
  • Other programs are geared toward specific fields. Under a federal program, workers who spent 10 years in the public or nonprofit sector while making payments can have their debt forgiven. New York State has its own loan forgiveness programs for district attorneys, social workers, nursing professors and farmers.
  • Mr. Cuomo’s proposed program is unusual in that it would benefit recent graduates working in any field.

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