McCaskill backs bill to lower student loans

McCaskill has backed a fully paid for bill to lower loan interest rates.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has announced her backing of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would decrease the interest rates on student loans.

“For thousands of Missouri’s young people, staggering student loan debt is strangling the economic opportunities that are supposed to come with a college degree — every dollar paid in interest on that debt, is a dollar not invested in a small business or a new home,” McCaskill said in a news release. “I personally benefited from student loans when I was in school, and I’ll continue fighting to make sure that every student who works hard gets a fair shot at an affordable college education.”

Student loan debt has risen an average of six percent each year from 2008 to 2012, according to www.projectonstudentdebt.org.

“Student loan debt today totals $1.2 trillion, $864 billion of which is backed by the federal government,” said Sarah Feldman, McCaskill’s press secretary.

In 2012, well over half of college graduates left with student loan debt. The average debt for a Missouri graduate at that time was $23,030, according to www.projectonstudentdebt.org.

The new legislation would hold benefits to 523,000 Missouri college students. It would not only allow eligible students to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate, but also let students with private market loans to refinance at a lower rate by converting to government loans. The bill is also fully paid for.

McCaskill has previously worked to improve the cost of a college education for Missouri students. She helped to pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which boosted Pell Grants, cut loan interest rates and provided loan forgiveness for students who spend ten years in public service. It also opened Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants, aimed at undergraduates who commit to teaching in high-need districts.

She also fought to expand federal student loans and prevent an extreme change in student loan interest rates.

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