Sioux City, Iowa (ABC9 News)- The cost of a college education is becoming a battle line in the race for an Iowa U-S Senate seat. Democratic hopeful Bruce Braley was sharing his views on the subject in Sioux City Wednesday.
Braley met with about 15 students and parents of students at Western Iowa Tech. The numbers he shared with the group reflect why he thinks the subject is an important campaign discussion to have.
"Iowa college students have the 3rd highest percentage of students who actually have student loan debt, 71% and ranks 6th highest in the amount of average debt which is about $30,000 per student," said Braley.
According to Braley, Iowa students received more than $350 million dollars in aid from Pell Grants last year. He says if his opponent, Republican Joni Ernst is elected, those loans could disappear. "You can't just dismiss these ideas like abolishing the Department of Education and not talk about the real world impact on Iowans.
Braley, who himself used student loans to attend college, told Wednesdays guests that he reached across party lines in Congress to reduce the burden of attending college. Music to the ears of those on hand at Wednesdays open discussion. "Uh absolutely, yes I have 2 kids in college so I'm really thinking about the debt accumulation and the interest rate. So I'd love to get that down," said Sally Pautsch.
In a campaign year, candidates often hold events like this weeks. But is it just part of getting elected or because there's a sincere interest? "I'm sure there's sincerity deep down cause he's from Iowa so he should understand," said Charlie Nelson, a student at WITCC. "Just get things done that's the main thing with getting financial aid figured out," he added.
"I think he was very sincere," added Pautsch. I think that as a family man he has kids go through this. I think he's sincere in trying to help us with our children and their debt.
Braley continues his educational tour Thursday with stops in Storm Lake and Mason City.