We must invest in access to higher education for all Missouri students.
As I have said my entire campaign, I am running for Treasurer for the millennials, not the millionaires. For too long, the younger generation has been used for their motivation and determination to win campaigns; But once they take office, politicians throw their interests aside and begin to appeal to the lobbyists and big donors. That will not be my strategy. I have 3 major strategies to help ease the burden of student loans on students, as well as a plan of action to help families prepare for college.
- As the Chief Financial Officer of the state, I have a vested interest in making sure talented and hardworking young people keep their talents in Missouri. However, high tuition will force them to move to schools out of state with lower tuition rates. First, I will work with all levels of government, particularly the General Assembly, to keep college tuition as low as possible for students. I will use the full force of the office to keep tuition low, and innovative minds in our state.
- Second, I will begin implementing financial literacy sessions for college students. I will travel across the state and teach students the best ways to spend their money and avoid accumulating massive amounts of debt. These literacy sessions will provide critical information to students so they do not fall into a debt trap they cannot get out of.
- One of the best ways to combat high student debt is to start early. Therefore, I will work diligently to increase the number of participants in the statewide 529 college savings plan. Currently, less than 3% of families use the 529 savings plan to save for their children’s future. This is an abhorrently small number, and one that I will work every day to raise. By the end of my first term, I hope to triple the number of Missourians using the plan. I will employ three strategies in order to accomplish this:
- I will explore starting a matching program for the first 2,500 dollars saved in the 529 plan. I will pull money from the linked deposit program, as well as request funds from the legislature, to fund this initiative.
- I will send my team to every underserved community in Missouri and advertise the 529 plan to them. The racial and socioeconomic disparity in our higher education institutions is deplorable, and I will work to make sure that those who start off with little are given every opportunity as those who start off with a lot. Helping those who are impoverished rise up and go to college is not only good for our local communities, but good for our state as a whole. I will make this a priority from day one.
- Along with going into the underserved communities of Missouri, I will also hold financial literacy sessions discussing the 529 savings plan. At these sessions, I will discuss the benefits and risks of the plan, as well as have a staff available to sign up individuals who wish to participate in the plan. Community outreach will be a significant portion of my plan to increase participation in the 529 college savings plan.
- Some among us sign up to potentially pay the ultimate sacrifice for our state and our country. I want to make sure children of veterans are able to pursue their American dream that their parent’s fought to preserve. Therefore, on day one, I will begin the groundwork for establishing 529 plans for all the children of veterans in Missouri. Along with this, I will work to gain funding to put an initial 1,000 dollars in those plans to start off. This is a small price to pay compared to the price some of our veterans pay, and I will make sure my office works diligently to repay our veterans for all their sacrifices, both abroad and at home.
Bolster 529 College Savings Plans