Earlier this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation that would allow people with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the interests rate approved last year for new borrowers.
The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), would give those borrowers with outstanding debts, some of which have interest rates of up to seven percent, to refinance at the 3.86 percent rate approved for borrowers during the 2013-2014 school year.
“Since last year, nearly a million more borrowers have fallen behind in their payments,” said Sen. Warren. “Nearly a million more are watching their balances get bigger, not smaller. Nearly a million more are sweating out how they are ever going to repay their student loan debt.”
“Last year, student loan debt was an economic emergency,” Warren continued. “And now, one year later, the emergency is getting worse. Just look at the numbers: students are now struggling with a hundred billion dollars more debt than a year ago. Since last year, total student loan debt has jumped to $1.3 trillion, and the debt is crushing young people.”
Warren pointed out that last year the federal government was projected to take in tens of billions of dollars in profits from the high interest rates on student loans.
“One year later, interest rates on new loans are even higher,” said Warren. “And even with millions of people struggling to pay, even after accounting for administrative and other costs, the federal government is still raking in huge profits on the student loan program.”
When Sen. Warren tried to push a similar bill last year, the Republicans refused to even debate the bill.
“Republicans said there were other, better ways to tackle the student debt, but the Republicans did nothing,” said Warren. “Nothing except fillabuster the only student loan bill on the table. So tens of millions of borrowers got nothing. No help at all.”
Watch Sen. Warren’s full introduction of the bill.