State lawmakers began discussions Tuesday on student loan debt from higher education. Democratic Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville requested a legislative study on the issue. It is slated for completion by the summer of 2017.
According to Tony Williams of the Arkansas Student Loan Authority, students in the state accumulated roughly $675 million in debt in the 2013/2014 school year.
“I think what’s driving that is the cost of higher education,” said Williams. He added that debt rates have climbed steadily over the past decade and will continue to grow.
“Until there is some control put in place to control the cost of higher education, I don’t see there being a decline in student loan debt.”
Data from The Institute For College Access and Success shows 55 percent of Arkansas students graduate with debt at an average of $25,375 each.