Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today after the Senate blocked the advancement of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act legislation introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren. New York graduates are currently saddled with an estimated $60 billion in student loan debt, this legislation would help tens of millions of graduates refinance their federal student loans. National student loan debt is now approximately $1.2 trillion, surpassing auto loan and credit card debt, and New Yorker’s hold a sky-high average of more than $27,000 per graduate. Senator Gillibrand’s proposal to allow graduates to refinance their loans at a lower interest rate just like businesses and homeowners are doing on a daily basis was included in Senator Warren’s bill.
“Once again, obstructionism has trumped common sense in the U.S. Senate, and this time it is over 2 million graduates in New York State alone who are paying the price. Higher education remains the clearest path into the middle class, yet more of our graduates and middle class families are burdened by student loans than ever before and are struggling to repay a higher amount of debt than ever before.
“It is clear that student loan debt is dragging down our economy, stopping graduates from buying homes and cars, or delaying the starting of businesses and families. The solution is right in front us – graduates should be able to refinance their debt in the same way that businesses and homeowners do today. This should not be a Democratic idea, or a Republican idea, it’s just the right thing to do.
“The cost of inaction by the Senate is a missed opportunity to strengthen our middle class families and instead will force graduates deeper into debt. I remind my colleagues, when we price young people out of a college education, we all pay a price.”