Chairwoman Cano issues statement on Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action, student loan forgiveness


STATE HOUSE – Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Sandra Cano today issued the following statement regarding the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and student loan forgiveness:

“Once again, the Supreme Court has gutted successful policies that have helped everyday Americans for decades. Its decision on affirmative action will set back access to education for those whose futures most depend on it. In response, those of us who care about protecting the uplifting power of education will redouble our efforts.

“Data shows us that inequities in higher education — both in admissions and in completion of a degree — are real and persistent. In the Senate, and in our Education Committee in particular, we have worked hard to develop programs that provide much-needed support that helps educationally disadvantaged students move on to postsecondary education and complete their degrees, including the Rhode Island Promise and Hope Scholarships, and RI Reconnect.

 “We must — and we will — continue to strengthen these programs and develop others to make higher education more accessible and affordable to all Rhode Islanders. The value of a four-year college degree is well-established, positively affecting lifetime earnings. Obviously, our state’s economy benefits substantially from individuals’ successes. However, for the first time, we are seeing a generation on track to earn less than their parents, which impacts overall financial security, including homeownership and even decisions about whether to marry and have children. The Supreme Court’s decision to block student debt relief maintains a status quo that has prevented thousands of Rhode Islanders from receiving the same benefits from a college degree as the generations before them.

“Affirmative action and student loan forgiveness are not the only tools we have to address inequities in higher education. We must continue the critical work of ensuring that higher education is within reach of every Rhode Islander, from every background, because education is truly the path to success and financial security for all.”