Student Loan Debt Has Swelled to $1.4 Trillion, Raising the Urgency for Immediate Action
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today joined 32 of her Senate colleagues to reintroduce the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. The legislation would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the interest rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2016-2017 school year. A previous version of the bill was voted on in the 113th Congress, and every Senate Democrat and three Senate Republicans voted to move the bill forward, falling just short of breaking a Republican filibuster.
“Students should not have to mortgage away their future to get a college degree,” said Cortez Masto. “This legislation will provide students with some much-needed relief from the burdens of student loans and debt. The cost of college should not prevent our young people from pursuing higher education and continue on a pathway to success. Increasing access to higher education enhances our workforce, grows our economy, and strengthens our communities. I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that will help do just that.”
Since the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act was originally introduced in 2014, student loan debt has grown by about $200 billion. In 2015, 70% of college seniors graduated with debt. It is anticipated that in 2017 more than one in four borrowers are in delinquency or in default on their student loans, and according to a recent analysis, a quarter of borrowers default over the life of their loans. It is clear that the student loan debt crisis is getting increasingly worse, with no signs of slowing down. With interest rates scheduled to rise again this summer, the urgency for Congress to address the student debt crisis and to allow borrowers to access today’s lower rates is stronger than ever.
The legislation is led by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and joining Cortez Masto as original sponsors are U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).