By Tom Spencer, Staff Writer
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter discussed higher education at a meet-and-greet event held in the Memorial Union Building at the University of New Hampshire on Friday, Oct. 31.
She criticized her opponent, former Rep. Frank Guinta, for his vote in favor of the Ryan budget, calling it “a direct hit at the middle class and students.”
“What [the Ryan budget] does for students is it cuts aid,” Shea-Porter said. “They were successful for cutting aid for private students. It cuts money for … student health and the Center for Disease Control … research and development. It takes out a lot of the investments in renewable energy.”
According to Ballotpedia, Shea-Porter graduated from UNH with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s.
She believes students face greater economic challenges now than when she was in school.
“I started off working at Stillings Dining Hall, so I know what that is like, working and saving for school. The difference then, though, was if you worked … you could pay for school if you really buckled down and worked hard. My kids and the people going [to UNH] cannot because the cost is so great.”
When asked about the exponential growth of administrator salaries in New Hampshire’s higher educational facilities over the last 50 years, Shea-Porter said:
“It’s surprising to me to see the difference … not just in campuses and administrations and elsewhere, but in business as well. The ratio … has been growing larger, and the burden falls on students and families when they see the difference of a CEO or higher management. You have to invest in young people, but you also have to make it possible for them to launch themselves after graduation. We are bringing forth a generation of young people that can’t participate in an economy that needs them.”
Shea-Porter also expressed concern that the weight of student debt was harming the ability of students to move on with their lives.
“Students are walking out of here owing so much money that it’s really impossible for them to buy a house, to live on their own, to rent an apartment, to buy a car. It slows them down in thinking about getting married, having kids or anything,” Shea-Porter said.
Shea-Porter offered the expanse of federal loans as an example of progress in the issue of student debt.
“We were the congress that took away the middle man, the banks and had students apply directly for federal loans, so taxpayers aren’t paying subsidies to banks. We were able to take that money and put it back into Pell Grants.”