Mary Landrieu stands for students

From a letter to the editor I wrote to the Shreveport Times.

“A college degree should help individuals build dreams, not debt.”

— Mary Landrieu, after introducing the Passport to the Middle Class initiative

In May, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu launched Passport to the Middle Class. This initiative represents two acts: the Middle Class Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary to Compete Economically (CHANCE) Act to increase the Pell Grant award and the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Act to help loan borrowers refinance with lower interest rates.

There are more than 600,000 students in Louisiana who are being compounded with student loan debt at an average rate of $22,000. Mary Landrieu understands this. And through Passport to the Middle Class, she wants to help relieve the financial burden of students throughout the state.

As a student, I should be focused on graduating with a college degree. Instead, I — like many other students — face a future burdened with financial worry. It is unacceptable that years of dedicated time and hard work could result in years of debt.

That this is even a possibility should be enough to incentivize legislators to make a change. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many legislators, including Louisiana’s own Bill Cassidy. He voted to cut Pell Grant funds not once, but at least three times in the past four years. Bill Cassidy cares more about appeasing financial and educational institutions than he has concern for Louisiana students.

Through his voting record, Cassidy consistently has proved he could care less about the debt accrued by hundreds of thousands of Louisiana students.

Mary Landrieu not only cares but is taking action to lessen the financial burden of egregious student loan debts. I stand with Mary not only as a Louisiana resident, but as a Louisiana student.

— Valencia Richardson


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