Pallone Meets with Rutgers Students to Discuss Making College More Affordable

Mar 30, 2015 Issues: Education, New Jersey

742,000 Students in NJ Would Benefit from Student Loan Refinancing Bill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJCongressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) hosted a roundtable discussion with student leaders at Rutgers University today to talk about the challenges that so many undergraduate and graduate students face attempting to finance their education.  Congressman Pallone heard from current students and also discussed ongoing efforts at the federal level to lighten the burden of student debt and enable more young people to pursue higher education. 

“A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make, but today, millions of graduates are entering the workforce burdened with tens of thousands of dollars of debt,” said Congressman Pallone.  “Graduates across the country are putting their dreams on hold as they struggle to pay off their student loans.” 

Skyrocketing tuitions have left nearly 40 million Americans working to repay $1.2 trillion in student loans.  Current law, however, prevents hard-working, responsible borrowers from refinancing their student loans at today’s low rates, the way that people can refinance their home and auto loans.  As a result, graduates are often stuck with interest rates at 8 percent, 12 percent, or even higher.

Congressman Pallone is a co-sponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would save students and families thousands of dollars by allowing federal and private student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at the historically low rates available to those taking out new federal loans during the 2013-2014 school year. 

Currently, 1,172,000 New Jerseyans hold $28,452,337,000 in student debt.  In all, the federal government provides nearly $303 million in student aid to undergraduates at Rutgers and $118 million to graduate students.

“You can refinance your home loan, your car loan, and your small business loan, but you can't refinance your federal student loan. That is just plain wrong,” added Pallone.  “Our bill fixes that problem and saves families thousands of dollars on their loans.”

Student loan debt has now eclipsed credit card debt and now comprises the second largest form of consumer debt, behind mortgages.  Student debt also weighs down borrowers of all ages, not just recent graduates as many assume.  33 percent of outstanding student loan balances are from borrowers age 30-39, and 34 percent of student loan balances are held by borrowers who are 40 years old or older.