Justin Fareed, Republican “I think students should have more options left to them so they can choose between vocational or technical education that might be a better transferable to the job market that might not incur such a high cost. I believe we need to look toward modernizing and expanding tax free 529 savings accounts for parents and kids to save through the course of their life so they have savings there that are tax free that they can apply toward either vocational or technical education or junior college level or at a four year institution.”

24th District Congressional Candidates on the Student Debt Crisis

By Carina Corral / Posted on June 2 / KSBY

There are nine candidates running to replace longtime Representative Lois Capps who announced she won’t seek re-election after serving the 24th district for nearly 20 years.

Ahead of next week’s primary, KSBY Anchor Carina Corral sat down with the candidates to discuss the issue of student debt and how they would tackle the issue.

Here are their responses, in alphabetical order:

Katcho Achadjian, Republican “There are programs such as the savings account so called 529 we need to make that non taxable, we need to make it accessible to parents, grandparents, siblings to be able to deposit money to help someone go through education. And when that person is done with it and no body else can use it if they choose to give it to a scholarship fund they shouldn’t be taxed and I’m supportive of making loans to students, free of interest.”

Salud Carbajal, Democrat “We need to make sure we do what the president suggested and that is to make community college free because that’s the access window that people have to pursuing a higher education, secondly we need to make sure financial aid such as Pell Grants are expanded so more people can have access and opportunity to pursue higher education and thirdly we need to make sure people who are getting loans aren’t getting them at such high interest rates.”

Justin Fareed, Republican “I think students should have more options left to them so they can choose between vocational or technical education that might be a better transferable to the job market that might not incur such a high cost. I believe we need to look toward modernizing and expanding tax free 529 savings accounts for parents and kids to save through the course of their life so they have savings there that are tax free that they can apply toward either vocational or technical education or junior college level or at a four year institution.”

Steve Isakson, Independent “It’s unfortunate that we’re leaving with such a massive debt but that’s what allowed them to get the college education to begin with. There are programs already, at least for some majors, to allow debt forgiveness by allowing service to the country. I’d like to expand those programs to allow more students to get rid of their debt by doing service and refinancing loans would be appropriate to which isn’t currently allowed.”

Matt Kokkonen, Republican “There again we go to a Santa Claus politicians who says ‘I’ll forgive your debts here, here’s free education,’ that’s wrong. People who go in debt they are responsible for debt if they’re students, college students, they’re not children anymore. They have to take into account that majors that they enter into and study .. on the other hand, they need to pick the right types of colleges and universities where the loans might be less.”

Benjamin Lucas, Democrat “I think $30,000 is the average student debt in our area and if you take five years for the average graduation, $6,000 a year average debt including room, food, education, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me right now, it’s the post-graduate. It would be the doctors courses and the things that I think where you go in to serious debt I would look more into service to school type situations where they would give five years of service to inner-city hospitals or rural community hospitals and we’ll pay for their doctorate.”

Bill Ostrander, Democrat
Q: “Are you saying free higher education, as well?”
A; “Yes, but free .. let’s use a different word because as soon as you say ‘free’ everyone starts to get bothered by it.”
Q: “Right, well how would it be paid for?”
A: “We should be having a national civil service program for 18-25 year olds we are already have Americorp, the military, Peacecorp. We have a variety of different programs where we offer young people the opportunity to get an education and the public helps them to pay for that for a certain type of service. I believe there should be a 500 hour minimum 18-25 year olds do a national civil service program and we’ll pay for their college.”

Helene Schneider, Democrat “Figure out a way to refinance current student loans, it’s ridiculous to me that you can have someone refinance a mortgage or a car and you can’t refinance a student loan. Second thing is to increase the opportunity for other grants, Pell Grants for example.” The issue of student debt from college is a huge economic impact in a negative way in that students cant then start their own careers.”

John Uebersax, Independent “To begin with, if we eliminate the student loans they {universities} will not have the ability to raise the tuition to any arbitrary amount. As long as the loans are there, they can raise the tuition and students will simply borrow more money. They don’t have an incentive to control the costs and they’ve taken advantage of it. We should end diploma discrimination because you should be able to go to a job and take an aptitude test and regardless if you have a diploma if you’re qualified they should legally have to hire you. And that means the universities no longer have a captive audience.”