Under the bipartisan leadership of Governor Janet Mills, Maine is leading when it comes to making college more affordable and tackling student loan debt relief, a stark change from the days of Paul LePage.

Governor Mills worked with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to overhaul Maine’s student loan debt relief program – the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit – to make it one of the strongest debt relief tools in the nation. Under changes signed into law by Governor Mills, graduates are eligible for up to $2,500 of relief per year, or a total of $25,000 over 10 years. The Governor has delivered even more generous student loan debt relief for Maine’s health care students, who can receive up to $75,000 in loan repayment over three years.

These build on the Governor’s efforts to make college more affordable. She delivered two-years of free community college, a measure that is driving applications and enrollments upward. Additionally, thanks in part to Governor Mills’ investments, the University of Maine System has been able to hold in-state tuition flat again.

While Governor Mills has been able to deliver some of the strongest debt relief measures in the nation, Paul LePage failed to do much of anything to help Mainers with student debt. In 2017, LePage proved unable to work even with his own party to pass a student debt relief package, a point the Bangor Daily News reported today:

“Fellow Republicans killed a 2017 plan from former Gov. Paul LePage to borrow money for debt relief, although Democratic Gov. Janet Mills worked with Assistant Senate Minority Leader Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, on a major simplification and expansion of a tax credit on the issue earlier this year.”

LePage also repeatedly opposed efforts to support Maine’s student borrowers in avoiding fraud or consolidating their debt.

“Under Governor Mills, Maine has become a national leader in making college more affordable and in delivering student debt relief, easing the burden on Maine’s students and helping them to stay, live, and work in Maine,” said Misha Linnehan, spokesperson for the Maine Democratic Party. “This is progress that Paul LePage was never able to make. On issue after issue, LePage failed to deliver for Maine people – and that’s a failure of leadership that will hurt Maine people again if he’s reelected.”