College-Bound Student From Eugene Testifies On Capitol Hill About Student Loan Debt

Jun 24, 2014

Amber Lee graduated in 2014 from Willamette High School in Eugene. She's here with her mom and older sister.
Credit Courtesy of Amber Lee

A college-bound student from Eugene testified Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on what role the tax system plays in student loan debt.

Amber Lee told the Senate committee about growing up with a father addicted to crystal meth who had a gambling problem. From age 7, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. Lee hopes to fulfill that dream but knows it will be an expensive journey through college. She's starting at Portland State University in the fall.

Lee: "Students need more outlets for assistance regarding college funding, including extension in loan forgiveness programs, affordable interest rates, expanded federal student aid, plus knowledge of tax benefits available for attending college."

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Chairs the Senate Finance Committee. He says it takes at least 36 calculations for a family to navigate the overlapping web of incentives for higher education in the tax code. He'd like to get it down to three credits or deductions that are user-friendly.

Sen. Wyden: "We understand that some student loan debt may be unavoidable. But leaving students with significantly less debt is something this committee can accomplish."

Wyden says this is just one of the committee's challenges in their bipartisan effort to simplify the tax code, but he says making college more affordable is an important one.

Amber Lee's full remarks to Senate Finance Committee.

Sen. Wyden's remarks to Senate Finance Committee.