Lawmakers draft bill to reduce college expenses

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Anyone who’s gone to college knows it’s expensive. Now, state lawmakers have drafted a bill to make it more affordable.

Lawmakers want students to learn about money starting in grade school.

A new bill calls for classes about loans, debt, taxes and banking. UMass students told 22News they think financial literacy is important.

“They really don’t know whats going on. Especially with their finances, they may have to ask their parents about it. If you can teach students how to understand financial aid and financial literacy. It would be a great idea,” said UMass Senior Sha-Taisja Jones.

As for the cost of college, the bill would force the state to fully fund the operating expenses for UMass and community colleges, to keep tuition low.

“I think it’s very expensive,” said freshman Myra Anderson. “There’s a lot of people who want to pursue higher education but they don’t have the money.”

People like Bejamin Collison.

“I made the decision this year to take the year off and work and save up for college in the future years. I was not provided financial aid last year. I spent a year at UMass Amherst and it was very very tight for me and my family,” said Collison.

The bill would also establish a test program for 250 students from low income families in which the state would match deposits into a college savings account. The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority says that half of all college savings accounts have less than $12,000 in them.
75% of parents said they’d save more if incentives were offered.

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