Directions: Read the summary with your students, watch the video (if helpful, follow along with the transcript) and then answer the discussion questions.
Summary: Maine is home to lobsters, lighthouses and the nation’s oldest population. The median age in the state is 43, with approximately one-third of residents in or approaching retirement. And while some young adults would prefer to stay in Maine, or return after graduating from college, today’s student loan burdens make the higher wages found elsewhere hard to pass up. The state is attempting to reverse this outflow of skilled workers by providing student loan repayments to graduates who elect to live and work in Maine. The award comes in the form of tax credits which can be as high as $5,000 per year for graduates from STEM disciplines and up to $3,500-$4,000 for non-STEM degrees.
1. Essential question: How do large student loans and debt affect the lives of young people?
2. What do you see as strengths and weaknesses of Maine’s plan?
3. Do you think states should be funding college degrees in this way? Why or why not?
4. Do you think a similar repayment option would make you consider staying in or returning to your home state? Why or why not?
5. Do you worry about the cost of college impacting your early adulthood decisions, like taking a vacation or buying sports or theatre tickets? What about buying a house or starting a family?
PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs’ Thomas Maxwell contributed to today’s Daily News Story.
Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. You can read the original story here. @NewsHourExtra