As Missouri's college students begin classes this week, Rep. Clint Zweifel, candidate for state treasurer, offered his plan to help Missouri families facing rising tuition costs.
"Missouri needs a leader on higher education, and I have the record and ideas we need to make college affordable for all Missourians," Zweifel said.
Zweifel's commitment to making college affordable for Missouri families is in stark contrast to how Senator Brad Lager views the treasurer's office. In a recent St. Joseph News-Press article, Lager was given an opportunity to share his vision for the state treasurer's office and specifically college affordability. Lager told Missouri families they were on their own:
"We cannot continue to have a mentality that government can do everything for everyone ... That's just a creation of bigger government." State Senator Brad Lager in the St. Joseph News-Press, "Lager to face Zweifel in race for state treasurer's office", August 8, 2008.
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gives Missouri an "F" for affordability and cited the state for not making any progress on student costs in more than a decade. Average annual cost of tuition and fees at a Missouri public four-year school is now approaching $6,000.
"Missouri has the highest public tuition of any state in the Big 12 Conference," Zweifel said. "When we increase cost barriers to higher education, we hold Missouri back."
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) was established to provide students access to low-interest loans to help them afford college. MOHELA's ability to fulfill its purpose was severely damaged by Governor Blunt's plan to sell off its assets for capital improvements. MOHELA now faces one of the toughest credit markets in financial history and its first financial loss in a 28-year history.
"At the same time the state is underfunding higher education in Missouri, it is also eliminating opportunities for students and families to reasonably finance their education," Zweifel said. "As private lenders pull out of the student loan market, students can only look to a crippled MOHELA for loans."
CLINT'S PLAN TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE
* Enact Missouri Promise - Clint sponsored Missouri Promise in the legislature and Jay Nixon has made it a part of his gubernatorial campaign. The program would provide two years of tuition, general fees and book costs at a Missouri public four-year institution of higher education. Students qualify by completing 42 hours of core course requirements at a community college through the A+ program, achieve and maintain a 3.0 grade point average, and agree to perform 50 hours of unpaid community service prior to undergraduate completion.
* Reform MOHELA - Make the state treasurer a permanent member of the MOHELA board to provide openness and a voice for Missouri families. Return the board to focusing on its original purpose of providing low-interest loans. Increase MOHELA's bonding capacity to create tuition grants for qualified students.
* MOST - The state treasurer administers Missouri's college savings program. Under Treasurer Steelman, broker and fund manager fees increased for many of the products. Clint will ensure it is clear to investors what the costs are for each product so they can make the best investment decision for their family.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
State treasurer candidate introduces college affordability plan
Democratic state treasurer candidate Clint Zweifel introduced a college affordability plan Monday and took a swipe at his Republican opponent Brad Lager at the same time. The Zweifel news release follows: