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Sen. Warner leads higher education roundtable at TCC

In his visit to Tidewater Community College on Thursday, Sen. Mark Warner touted bipartisan legislation that would ensure a wide range of comparative data about higher education is available to prospective students and their families.

The Democratic senator from Virginia took part in a roundtable discussion with TCC students, Hampton Roads high school students, parents and administrators, stressing the need for higher education to be affordable.

“Our whole system of college education is broken,” Warner said. “I’m not sure I would have had the courage to fail if I had $100,000 in loans behind me.

“A college education should not cost half a million dollars.”

Warner touted the Virginia Community College System and the benefits of a two-year degree, noting the marketability of industry certification in welding as opposed to a bachelor’s in political science.  

The bipartisan legislation Warner, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced in May known as The Student Know Before You Go Act would streamline reporting requirements from educational institutions to give students and their families access to graduation rates, student loan debt and employment prospects by major. Warner also stressed the need for colleges to be more conscious of students who enter college midway through their careers.

During the 90-minute discussion, many of the students and parents expressed concern about paying for college, and while Warner admitted he didn’t have all the answers, he touted the legislation as a good first step in helping students make informed decisions about their futures.