The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska held its last senate meeting for January this week, discussing a bill that would allow the school’s Government Liaison Committee (GLC) to work for students regarding Bill LB433, according to The Daily Nebraskan.
LB443, which is set to go through the state legislature soon, was created to help ease the student loan debt burden that many Nebraska students face upon graduation. LB433 would give employers a tax incentive to help recent graduates pay off student loans. Participating organizations would receive a tax credit equal to one-half of the amount of debt paid by employers on their employees’ behalf.
Employers can claim up to $1,800 per employee, for up to 20 employees, in nonrefundable credits toward the business' state income taxes. The student loan payments would need to be sent directly to the loan provider — the employee cannot be reimbursed for it.
The average graduate from a Nebraska college or university can expect to owe $17,181 in student loan debt, even including those who owe nothing. And, with more than 70 percent of UNL graduates remaining in the state after graduation, the bill is believed to be a win-win for both employers and employees. Employers reap the rewards of a tax credit while attracting employees who have earned a college degree. Employees, on the other hand, receive direct help with student loan repayment.
At the meeting, it was revealed that Nebraska Sen. Kate Bolz had the school’s GLC testify on behalf of its students. Many state legislators say that the bill would motivate businesses to come to Nebraska and increase the number of college-educated people in the state. The student loan crisis is an issue throughout the country and is deterring many potential college students from pursuing a degree. LB433 would take some of the burden of repayment off of them.
The bill does not come without opposition, however.
Senator Scott Schenkelberg said LB443 would actually hurt the state in the short run and would not help a student with major debt.
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