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2    WHEREAS, The economic competitiveness of the United States
3and Illinois in the global economy requires a well-educated
4workforce; and
5    WHEREAS, Students in Illinois currently average $28,984 in
6student debt upon graduation, which significantly hinders
7their ability to participate in the local economy; and
8    WHEREAS, Current and future young people in the United
9States and across Illinois should have the same opportunity
10offered to those who went to college in previous generations,
11including the ability to attend State colleges and universities
12without taking on burdensome debt; and
13    WHEREAS, In 2015, higher education is more important than
14ever because it is an essential step to entering and remaining
15in the middle class; and
16    WHEREAS, Because of the importance of higher education, the
17United States and local governments should expand the
18opportunity to pursue and attain higher education to more
19people than had that opportunity in the past; and
20    WHEREAS, Public investment in higher education pays off, as



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1evidenced by the fact the G.I. Bill resulted in a 7-to-1 return
2on investment for our national economy; workers with college
3degrees also earn more money, pay more taxes, and rely less on
4government services; and
5    WHEREAS, Student loan debt saddles the very students who
6most depend on a college degree to level the economic playing
7field with a burden that constrains career choices and hurts
8the credit rating of students, prevents people from fully
9participating in the economy by purchasing goods and services,
10and threatens essential milestones of the American dream,
11including the purchase of a home or car, starting a family, and
12saving for retirement; and
13    WHEREAS, The Schatz-Schumer-Warren United States Senate
14debt-free college resolution and the Grijalva-Ellison-Clark
15United States House of Representatives debt-free college
16resolution have gained national momentum in recent months and
17has become central in the national dialogue around higher
18education; and
19    WHEREAS, A national goal of debt-free college would include
20significant federal aid to states, including Illinois;
21therefore, be it



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2show our support for any and all efforts to enact legislation
3that ensures that all students have access to debt-free higher
4education, defined to mean having no debt upon graduation from
5any public institutions of higher education; increases support
6to states so that those states can increase investments in
7higher education and bring down costs for students; increases
8aid to students to help them cover the total cost of college
9attendance without taking on debt; encourages innovation by
10states and institutions of higher education to increase
11efficiency, lower costs, and enable speedy and less-costly
12degree completion; and reduces the burden of existing student
13loan debt.