The cost of college is rising faster than family incomes. David understands the importance of investing in our students.
Technology is remaking the American economy before our eyes. David understands that the skills and critical thinking abilities that District students will need to succeed in life will be fundamentally different than those required by their parents. But attaining the college or career-based education needed to gain these skills is growing more expensive every year.
Between 1982 and 2012, the average cost of college grew nine times faster than the average household income. David has heard from parents who could not afford a college education for their child. Others have told him that their children were not able to attend a school of their choice, which according to studies makes them less likely to finish their degree. Still others are faced with crippling student loan debt upon graduation.
The lack of a college or career-based education is already an obstacle to participation in today’s job market and will grow more so in the future. In Ward 8, where only 12% of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, the unemployment rate is approximately 17%—the highest in the District. Conversely, in Ward 3, where over 83% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher the unemployment rate is just 3%.
David believes that now – more than ever – it is important to invest in the futures of our students. This is why he proposed creating one of the largest publicly funded college tuition assistance programs in the nation for District students – The D.C. Promise. The program would provide financial assistance — up to $7,500 per year— to District graduates to attend college or career training after high school. The D.C. Promise seeks to guarantee that every District student in every neighborhood can pursue higher education and be ready for the 21st century economy.