RAHWAY — Democrat James J. Devine endorsed a new student loan refinancing bill introduced by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and asked citizens to sign a petition backing the proposed measure in response to a request from the progressive lawmaker.
In an email sent to Devine, Warren explained that her proposed ‘Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act’ would let qualified borrowers refinance existing student loan debt to the same lower prices that Congress agreed upon for new students this year.
“Although not as much as we would have liked, Congress lowered the rates for new borrowers this year but Conthey gress did nothing for the millions of people stuck with older high interest rate loans,” said Devine. “Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is addressing this unfair debt with a plan that is so popular, it already has 23 co-sponsors.”
“Outstanding student loans now total more than $1 trillion, surpassing total credit card debt,” said Devine, a progressive Democrat who is challenging the interim appointee in Rahway’s Democratic primary election for mayor.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, the total amount of student loan debt has exceeded the total amount of credit card debt. This very real problem weighs heavily on New Jersey families,” said Devine. “By helping borrowers refinance their student loans and pay down their debt at a lower interest rate, graduates will have a better chance at building an economic future.”
Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher for undergraduate loans, while students taking out new undergraduate loans pay a rate of 3.86 percent under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act passed by Congress last summer.
Warren’s refinancing plan would allow students and graduates to pay back outstanding loans at the same rates that Senate Republicans overwhelmingly embraced just last summer as appropriate for new borrowers.
“Student loan debt is exploding,” said Warren, in an email to Devine encouraging him to rally support for the measure. “Outstanding student loans now total more than $1.2 trillion – and each year, students are taking on more and more and more. In 2012, an astonishing 71% of college seniors owed student loans, and, from 2004 to 2012, the average student loan balance increased by 70%.”
“Now, millions of young people are struggling to keep up with their student loan payments,” Warren wrote to Devine. “Everywhere I go, I meet young people who worked hard, played by the rules, and got an education – only to be crushed with student loan debt.”
“Every day, this exploding debt stops more and more young people from moving out of their parents’ homes, from saving for a down payment, buying homes, buying cars, starting small businesses, saving for retirement, or making purchases that grow our economy,” said Warren.
“Forty million Americans with outstanding student loans could save money if Elizabeth Warren’s Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act is promptly approved by Congress,” said Devine.
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