Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement on a new report issued by the Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS). The report showed that students who borrowed for college and earned bachelor's degrees in 2011 graduated with an average $26,600 in student loan debt, up from $25,250 in 2010. In Harkin's home state of Iowa, students carried an average debt of $28,753, with 72 percent of students in the Class of 2011 having debt. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
"Yet another report reminds us that "business as usual' in higher education is not sustainable. By empowering students with useful information, promoting transparency, supporting effective loan counseling, and investing in smart financial aid policies, we can take steps to bend the debt curve. This will take a joint effort, however, and shared responsibility. States must step up their efforts, colleges must reform and improve, and students should shop around and examine their options carefully. I look forward to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in the next Congress, which is a historic opportunity to make an affordable and quality college education real for all, regardless of background."