Sinema, Romney Introduce Bill to Responsibly Reduce Student Loan Debt, Make College More Affordable

Sep 21, 2023

Senators’ Earn to Learn Act, modeled after Arizona’s Earn to Learn program, creates a college-matched savings program and provides financial training for students

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Mitt Romney (Utah) introduced their Earn to Learn Act to responsibly reduce student loan debt and help make college more affordable to Arizona students.

The Senators’ 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.

“Like many Arizonans, education was my key to opportunity. We’re responsibly reducing student loan debt, making college more affordable, and empowering Arizona students to succeed,” said Senator Sinema.

“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,” said Senator Romney. “I’m proud to join Senator Sinema in reintroducing this legislation, which will help students pursue their education by equipping them with the financial resources and knowledge they need to attend college or career and technical schools without the burden of being saddled with debt when they graduate.”

“Earn to Learn has been uplifting underserved Arizona students to reach their dreams though a college education for over a decade,” said Kate Hoffman, Earn to Learn founder and CEO. “I commend the bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators on their efforts to generate economic opportunity across the country by expanding this innovative program to students across the country.”

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. The Earn to Learn Act will create an estimated 250,000 additional college scholarships in the first five years.

Sinema and Romney’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.