Sen. Scott visits FSW to discuss college affordability, student debt

The challenge of college affordability is an issue most students must deal with. And it’s harder to cut down on costs without racking up debt.

Sen. Rick Scott has been touring the state recently to meet with college students and educators to address the prevalent concerns surrounding college affordability.

Sen. Scott visited FSW’s campus in Collier County Friday to discuss efforts to improve how individual students can afford school and avoid debt.

Scott suggested colleges give more of a say in how much money students can borrow, and he said all students should have the ability to access financial aid. Scott also acknowledged the trillions of dollars in student loan debt that already exists in the U.S.

Sen. Rick Scott with students and educators at FSW’s Collier County Campus. Credit: Office of U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.

“I think it’s in the public interest for us to do a better job of subsidizing public education for everybody,” Scott said.

Amy Baird said she began saving almost immediately for her child’s higher education.

“College is the steppingstone for helping kids to raise themselves up in life,” Baird said. “So I think it’s incumbent on all of us to make sure they get that opportunity.”

Baird stressed the importance to ensure students are not weighted by the student loan debt after graduation.

“If you graduate from school with 30, 40, 70 or $80,000 in debt, you’ll be in debt until you’re in your fifties,” Baird said.

Students told us it’s something they are constantly worried about.

“To every student, I think, entering college,” FSW sophomore Jerson Rodriguez said.

“One of the scariest things about college,” student Samantha Fitzpatrick said.

But financial advisers are working with students to get them out the door quicker. The less time spent working through a degree track, the less money owed.

“If there’s a way to help students graduate college without debt, than we have done our jobs as an institution,” said Mario Rotunna, a financial aid specialist at FSW.

Rotunna also advises students to get familiar with financial aid in high school and teach them about what could happen later on if they owe money they don’t have.

“It affects me getting a house, getting a car getting a loan,” Rotunna said. “The loan looks nice now, and the end of the day, it can catch up to you quick.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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