In Flint, Senator Stabenow Joins Michigan Residents to Address the Growing Student Debt Crisis, Give Borrowers a Fair Shot to Get Ahead

Friday, May 16, 2014

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today joined Michigan residents in Flint to discuss her legislation that would save millions of borrowers money on their student loans and give them a fair shot to get ahead. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow responsible borrowers with outstanding student loan debt, including some privates loans, incurred at past higher interest rates to refinance at the low rates currently offered only to new borrowers. This would save borrowers hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. At a time when many students are being dragged down by their debt and forced to forego buying a house or getting married, the government is projected to make $66 billion in revenue on federal student loans made between 2007 and 2012.

Sen. Stabenow said: "Too many people in Michigan are saddled with decades of debt just because they wanted a fair shot to go to college and get ahead. That is why I'm leading the effort to make college more affordable and to help borrowers who are already weighed down by exploding and unsustainable levels of student debt. Helping these borrowers will improve the lives of thousands of Michigan families and boost our economy by allowing them to spend their money on a home, a car, and the needs of their families instead of on interest payments."

Christie Carpenter, Flint resident said: "As a recent graduate, I am very concerned with how I will be able to afford paying off my $70,000 in student loan debt. I am glad Sen. Stabenow has introduced legislation that will save me thousands of dollars in interest on my loans that I can use to invest in my family's future."

Joe Albosta, Saginaw Twp. resident said: "While I made it through undergrad without having to take out any student loans, I was not so fortunate with law school. With over $180,000 in student loan debt, the amount of money that I am able to pay does not even cover the interest that accrues every month. I would like to thank Sen. Stabenow for introducing legislation that will help lower my interest rate and make higher education more affordable for everyone."

Nathan Collison, Saginaw resident said: "My wife and I both work in public service and have over $185,000 in combined student loan debt. We appreciate Sen. Stabenow's bill that will allow us to reduce our loan debt, so we can afford to start saving for our three-year-old daughter's education."

Jeff Wickman, Hemlock resident said: "In order to get my Masters in Public Administration, I needed to take federal and private student loans. Sen. Stabenow's bill will help borrowers like me save thousands of dollars that I can use to purchase a much-needed new car."

According to the Project on Student Debt, Michigan ranks in the top ten of states with the highest average student loan debt. In Michigan, the average student loan debt among those who borrow to get a bachelor's degree is nearly $29,000 and 62% of Michigan students have debt when they graduate.

The legislation is fully funded by enacting the Buffett Rule, which would limit special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay lower effective tax rates than middle class families. The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maize Hirono (D-HI), Edward Markey (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).