Coakley heard a wide range of different perspectives, including recent graduates who are saddled debt, and younger students who were still figuring out exactly how they would pay for their education.
During her gubernatorial campaign, Coakley has laid out a "Roadmap to Opportunity" to identify ways students can achieve a higher education.
Coakley has called for "implementing full-need financial aid at community colleges," including Mass Bay Community College, with a campus in Framingham.
"Massachusetts’ network of 15 community colleges serves nearly 140,000 students. In a state where by 2020, 70% of jobs will require some level of post-secondary education, community college is a vital resource, both for students who choose to go on to traditional, four-year colleges, and those who go directly into the workforce. Tuition and fees at the Commonwealth’s community colleges often add up to more than $5,000 per year, posing an insurmountable obstacle for too many students," states her plan.
"For any qualified student who demonstrates a financial need to attend community college, and can’t cover the expense with traditional financial aid, the state will cover the remainder. A full-need financial aid policy recognizes the importance of expanding access to post-secondary education, both to increasing opportunity for young people and to putting Massachusetts on the path to long term health and prosperity," states her plan.
Coakley also wants to create a "tax-free savings plan for college."
She is calling for Massachusetts to join 34 other states in "establishing a $5,000 tax deduction for families that make contributions to Massachusetts’ 529 college saving plan. This will provide a powerful incentive for families to start investing earlier, and more, for their children’s college education, and will reduce the long-term financial burden for many students."