Sen. Thune has worked to reverse the rising price of higher education for South Dakota students and families.
Highlights of Sen. Thune’s Commitment to Improving Higher Education:
- Introduced Legislation to Help Employers Assist Employees to Pay Down Student Debt:
- The bipartisan Employer Participation in Refinancing Act would allow companies to pay pre-tax benefits to assist employees with loan repayment, incentivizing workers to refinance loan debt at lower interest rates with private lenders.
- Currently, the IRS’ Employer Education Assistance Program only allows employers to contribute pre-tax earnings to help employees finance continued education, but does not allow relief for individuals who already have incurred student loan debt.
- Sen. Thune’s bill would provide a new tool to help employers recruit and retain quality employees by allowing them to help qualified employees repay student loans with pre-tax dollars.
- Defended the Federal Perkins Loan Program:
- Sen. Thune helped preserve the important program, which was set to expire in 2015.
- This ensured continued benefits for approximately 4,000 South Dakota students, who can borrow up to $5,500 a year for a total of $27,000 as an undergraduate.
- Introduced Legislation to Eliminate an ObamaCare Requirement Increasing Student Tuition Rates:
- Sen. Thune introduced legislation to exempt colleges and universities from ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate, a requirement that is increasing health care costs for schools and universities that are likely being passed on to students through higher tuition rates.