WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the Earn to Learn Act, legislation to reduce student loan debt and make college more affordable for students. The bipartisan bill establishes a college matched-savings program that helps qualifying low-income students, including adult learners, pay for tuition, books, fees, and other education-related expenses.
“We must do better to ensure American students have the skills and training necessary to pursue good-paying jobs that keep up with our changing economy,” Senator Romney said. “Our legislation will help students pursue their education by equipping them with the financial resources and knowledge they need to attend college, career, and technical schools without the burden of being saddled with debt when they graduate.”
“Education was my key to opportunity, and I’m committed to ensuring all Arizona students have the same access to higher education that I did. Creating a college-matched savings program helps Arizona students save for school while teaching the importance of money-management,” Senator Sinema said.
“For nearly a decade, Earn to Learn has been changing the lives of Arizona students who may have thought a college education was financially out of reach. I applaud sponsoring Sens. Sinema and Romney for their efforts to make this innovative program available to students across the country, fostering economic opportunity for low-income American families and helping to break the cycle of multigenerational poverty,” said Kate Hoffman, Earn to Learn founder and CEO.
Romney and Sinema’s Earn to Learn Act establishes educational savings accounts to allow students to save for higher education. For every $1 a student contributes, the amount is matched by an additional $8 from the participating state or non-profit. This money will go to the student’s chosen educational institution once the student enrolls. Participating states and non-profits are awarded grants to provide the tuition assistance and financial literacy training. Romney and Sinema also introduced the Earn to Learn Act in the 116th Congress.
The legislation is modeled off Arizona’s successful Earn to Learn program, which has a nearly decade-long track record helping underserved and underrepresented students access and complete a college education. Earn to Learn scholars, who must qualify for Pell Grant aid, have a first-year retention rate that approaches 90%, and the majority graduate with little or no student loan debt.