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Senator Warner Visits UVA, Talks Student Debt

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Senator Mark Warner visited the University of Virginia Wednesday to address the national student debt crisis.

Student debt in the United States is surpassing credit card debt at $1.2 trillion, and 2014 graduates this spring became the most indebted class ever.

Dozens of students filled the Observatory Hill forum Wednesday afternoon to talk about possible solutions to the crisis. Warner said he's currently working on three bipartisan bills in the Senate. The goals are income-based repayment of student loans, employer assistance in debt repayment, and transparency so that students know as much as possible before they choose a school.

But before talking with the students, Warner listened.

“I want to hear the stories from these students, share some of my ideas. I want to hear their feedback so that when we go back into session next week or after the election, we can see what can actually be done this year because with these numbers going up on a national basis, when we're seeing home sales not rebound the way they're supposed to because people can't buy that first house, this is going to be a drag on the national economy until we can get it fixed,” Warner said.

UVA student Porter Koolman said, “It's really important that Mark Warner works not just to fight it, but also to make sure that students are informed about it so that they can continue to fight this issue.”

Warner told the students he believes college needs to be affordable so they can get a fair shot at success. He also wants access to income-based Pell Grants for qualified high-schoolers, allowing them to take up to one semester of college courses in high school.

Reported by Jenna Dagenhart

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