Student Investment Account Act


Student loans are a burden which prevents many from fully participating in our economy and which can make higher education inaccessible in the first place. Student loan debt delays home purchases, business start-ups and other major economic investments. And the fear of accruing debt can prevent students from enrolling or completing a degree.

Seventeen percent of Illinois residents – more than two million people – carry student loan debt, the median value of which is $17,748. Twelve percent of those borrowers have student loan debt in collections. Refinancing private loans and investing in new financing tools are opportunities for the state to earn a reasonable investment return while supporting the aspirations of our residents.


Alleviating debt for Illinois borrowers will generate increased personal investment and fuel our state’s economic growth. We currently run several programs which increase access to capital in alignment with our mission and priorities. We can do this because our expected return on investments in the state portfolio is relatively low – in the range of 2-3 percent. For this program, our office will use up to five percent of our investment portfolio (approximately $600 million) to invest in student loans. With our relatively low expected return, we can refinance private student loans on advantageous terms for the borrower and establish pools of funds for promising new higher education financing programs, such as income share agreements.

Support NJ VoTech


There are several industries in New Jersey that are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. These in-demand industries – such as nursing, manufacturing, construction trades, and transportation logistics – offer secure, well-paying jobs. In July 2019, New Jersey added 1,600 jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities, 1,200 jobs in manufacturing, and 500 jobs in construction.

At the same time, almost one million New Jersey residents reported living with income levels below the federal poverty line last year. That does not account for a living wage and New Jersey’s above-average cost of living.


New Jersey boasts some of the best career and technical education programs in the country. However, these programs might not be accessible to all students based on where they live.

Under this bill, community colleges and school districts that currently lack vocational training programs can directly benefit a partnership with an existing program. Existing career and technical education programs know what works and what does not, and how to best meet students’ and industries’ needs.

By fostering this kind of partnership, schools can create programs that strengthen and expand New Jersey’s network of career and technical education programs, and bring valuable job training opportunities closer to the people who need them most.

Sustainable Schools to Address Climate Change

Having fought to make sustainability and other climate initiatives a priority in her school district, Santa Barbara, CA School Board Member Laura Capps recently celebrated the launch of a “massive plan to install solar energy, battery storage, and electrical vehicle charging stations at school sites districtwide.” Capps was a finalist in the 2019 NewDEAL Ideas Challenge for her sustainability agenda, recognizing that districts across the country can see major cost savings by shifting to renewable energy sources, conducting audits on energy and water use, and employing innovative strategies. Learn more about this week’s announcement of investments in new infrastructure, which, in part, addresses the need to prepare schools to serve as community safe havens during natural disasters and other emergencies. The schools would have the power to provide evacuees with warmth and light for days. The overall effort is also designed to foster a more comprehensive educational environment for students growing up in a climate crisis, directly showing them the tangible actions that can be taken

Comprehensive Sex Education in Grady County Public Schools

NewDEAL Leader Grady County, GA School Board Member Laura Register has long championed comprehensive sex education in her local public schools, and a recent PBS Retro Report took a brief look at how her community banded together across ideological lines to support the program after seeing the facts about the need to address teen pregnancy. Watch to learn more about the success the program has had in its five years (segment on Cairo, GA and Grady County begins at 10:47).

Earn to Learn Program Expands Access to Higher Education

NewDEAL Leader Columbus Councilmember Elizabeth Brown and her colleagues recently rolled out the city’s new “Earn to Learn” program to support higher education access for lower-income students. Recent graduates in the program can receive an 8-to-1 match on college savings up to $500, for a total of $4,500, which could pay for one year’s tuition at a local university. Learn more about the program and the partnership behind its funding.

Student Loan Bill of Rights

NewDEAL Leader Massachusetts Senator Eric Lesser wrote an op-ed for the Boston Globe highlighting the heavy debt burdens many Americans carry, the shameful actions by loan servicers, and how these burdens hinder borrowers from economic success and building wealth. Senator Lesser is renewing his efforts to address the problem, re-filing his Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect borrowers, provide them with assistance, and increase government oversight on loan servicers. Read his op-ed to learn more about his work to address this challenge that affects millions of Americans.

Expanding Access to Education in Kansas

NewDEAL Leader Kansas Representative Brandon Whipple filed three bills this week to increase college access and help reduce potential student debt. His bills would provide a tax credit to students receiving Pell Grants, expand the types of alternative college credits that can be transferred, and end application fees for scholarships. Read more details on how his bills could change the lives of Kansans currently struggling to afford higher education.