Coakley Pledges $225M In New Student Aid
Matt Murphy // September 25, 2014
BOSTON — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley campaigned Thursday with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren around the idea of making college more affordable, shifting her focus on the trail from early education to higher education.
Coakley and Warren joined Roxbury Community College President Valeria Roberson on the school’s campus for a roundtable discussion with students and faculty where Coakley outlined a $250 million plan to boost financial aid and make it easier for students and families to save for college.
“I’m prepared to make that case that this is the gateway to the dream. If we’re talking about really making education available, not just because it’s good for kids and their families. It’s good for the economy. It’s where we’re going to be able to full those jobs that we’re creating here with those startups, that innovation economy, our health care growth, our social services growth. We talked about it yesterday. This is the place where we can align the skills people need with where the jobs are,” Coakley said.
Coakley’s proposal calls for investing an estimated $225 million into a “full need” financial aid program at community colleges to cover the remainder of tuition costs that a student can’t meet with traditional financial aid alone. The attorney general also recommended making a $5,000 tax deduction available to families that contribute to 529 college saving plans. Her campaign estimated the college savings credit would cost the state an estimated $17 million to $20 million annually.
Coakley, who has also proposed $150 million in new spending on early education over four years, said she would look for ways to cover the cost of her higher education program with new revenues as the economy improves, and by finding efficiencies in government and making it an investment priority.
“We’re about building a future. It takes education to build that future. But it takes investment. It’s not free,” Warren said, imploring students to become active and make their voices heard in the election.
“There’s no daylight between us in this,” Warren said of her and Coakley. “We believe in investing and educating the young people of the Commonwealth.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker was at Florian Hall in Dorchester on Thursday morning accepting the endorsement of the Massachusetts Corrections Officers Federation Union, and discussing the importance of community safety. He was joined by former Worcester County Sheriff and 2010 Democratic candidate for auditor Guy Glodis.
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