Joined by Michigan State University Student, Senator Stabenow Announces Initiative To Make College More Affordable

MSU Senior Tina Reyes Will Join Sen. Stabenow at State of the Union To Highlight Growing Problem of Student Debt

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today initiated the #InTheRed campaign to raise awareness of the staggering burden of student loan debt for college graduates and the urgent need to address college affordability. The campaign is led by Democrats in the U.S. Senate, who will be rolling out a comprehensive plan to allow student loan borrowers to refinance high-interest student loans, to increase Pell Grant awards, and to create new federal and state partnerships to make community college free for eligible students. Senator Stabenow is joined by Tina Reyes, a Michigan State University senior from Flint, Michigan, to unveil the campaign. Ms. Reyes will be Senator Stabenow’s guest at tonight’s State of the Union to increase awareness of the growing problem of student loan debt in Michigan.

“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,” said Senator Stabenow. “That is why I’m joining my colleagues in the Senate to put our country on a path to debt-free college for future generations of students. Making college affordable will improve the lives of millions of Americans and boost our economy by giving graduates the ability to spend their money on a home, a car, and the needs of their families.”

“I am a first generation college student from Flint, Michigan and without federal and private student loans I would not be able to attend Michigan State University,” said Tina Reyes, Senior, Michigan State University. “Even working multiple jobs, I am concerned about how I will be able to pay my student loan bills which will arrive within a year after my graduation. I support the #InTheRed campaign because it will shed light on how much student loan debt students like me will be struggling to pay soon out of college.”

As part of the #InTheRed campaign, Senate Democrats will be introducing proposals to allow all eligible federal student loan borrowers to refinance their high-interest loans down to the rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2013-2014 school year; to index Pell Grant awards to inflation; and create new partnerships among the federal government, states, and Indian tribes to help them waive resident tuition in two years of community and technical college programs for eligible students. These provisions would be fully paid for by closing tax loopholes.

62 percent of students in Michigan graduate #InTheRed with student loan debt. A student who graduated from a 4-year Michigan college or university in 2014 owes on average almost $30,000 in loans, making Michigan 9th in the country on average student loan debt.

Student loan debt in the United States is over $1.3 trillion and is the 2nd highest form of consumer debt.