Poll: Texans view student loan debt as a personal and policy problem

State & Regional
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 AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texans worry about the cost of higher education and view it as an obstacle to obtaining a degree. That’s according to a new poll released today by WGU Texas, a non-profit, online university, who partnered with community and private college associations. 

“The poll’s findings reaffirm our commitment to offering affordable, accessible and relevant education and training to all Texans,” Jacob Fraire, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, said. “Working with colleges across all sectors, we believe broader access makes higher education possible for qualified students, no matter their place in life and we will continue to advance the individual aspirations of the students we serve.” 

Some key findings within The 101: The Higher Ed Poll of Texas: 
•         More than 90 percent of Texans agree that it is essential to have an educated workforce if Texas’ economy is going to compete with other states 
•         Seventy-nine percent of Texans view the problem of student loan debt for people in the U.S. as a “major problem” 
•         Seventy-seven percent of Texans who currently don’t have student loan debt also see it as an issue 

Texans who received degrees say the cost was worth it in both economic and personal terms, saying how their education has or will eventually pay off. President of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas Ray Martinez says these poll results should guide lawmakers in the state as they decide on higher education funding. 

“What we know is that a college degree offers a special key that makes access to future opportunity and fulfilled ambition possible—be it better job prospects, increased earning potential, an enhanced quality of life, greater personal enrichment, or all of the above,” Martinez said. 

Researchers James Henson and Joshua Blank of Strategic Research Associates conducted this statewide poll, using around 5,500 records to yield 800 completed interviews over a span of a week. 

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