Montco legislator wants to revamp Pa. student loan program

    One Pennsylvania lawmaker is hoping to help college graduates hobbled by student debt.

    He described it as a loan program in which there’s no interest, the payments are deferred for three years, and they arrive as a percentage of the graduate’s income.

    The proposal comes from Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, who acknowledges the hefty startup cost of such a program.

    “We need some seed money. Eventually, this becomes a self-sustaining program and whatever tax is imposed goes away,” he said Tuesday. “But we need some money to start up the program.”

    Other states have proposed borrowing money for such programs. Leach has suggested a severance tax on the natural gas drilling industry.

    Gov. Tom Corbett opposes such a tax, and signed into law an impact fee on drillers last year instead.

    Setting aside questions of startup costs, there is the issue of sustainability. Scholars have suggested such funds can’t be self-sustaining if the only students they attract enter low-paying careers.

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