O’Mara, Policy Committee and Republican lawmakers examine student loan debt

RADNOR, Oct. 17 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing Wednesday at Cabrini University on the student debt crisis.

O’Mara was joined by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from throughout Pennsylvania, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and Reps. Meghan Schroeder and Wendi Thomas, both R-Bucks.

“Student loan debt is crushing Americans across the country, but most particularly right here in Pennsylvania. Our commonwealth ranks third highest in the nation for student loan debt, with our college graduates owing an average of about $37,000,” O’Mara said.

“College graduates are carrying this debt for the majority of their lives, and its impacting not only their personal finances, but Pennsylvania’s economy as well,” Sturla said. “It’s forcing graduates to postpone major life decisions like getting married, having children and buying houses.”

The committee heard testimony from college graduates; Ken Mash, president, Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties; Tom Foley, president, Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania; Nathan Hench, senior vice president for Strategy and Public Affairs, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency; Nick Smyth, assistant director for Financial Consumer Protection, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office; Whitney Barkley-Denney, senior policy counsel, Center for Responsible Lending; and Jim Tulskie, business development manager, DebtHelper.com.

The meeting was one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first, good jobs, healthcare access, quality schools and job training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.Plan4Pa.com. Hearing testimony and video will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.  

EDITOR'S NOTE: You can access video and an interview with Rep. O'Mara from today's hearing at 
ftp://www.pahouse.com and downloading the clip titled 101619 OMARA STUDENT DEBT VOSOT.mp4. You can also access a photo from the hearing here.