Op-Ed: Student loan debt is crushing an entire generation

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Congressman Jim McDermott
Congressman Jim McDermott is a Democrat, represents the 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 7th District includes most of Seattle, all of Lake Forest Park and Shoreline, and a section of Snohomish county.

By Congressman Jim McDermott

The more I talk to students, parents and grandparents the more I’m concerned that mounting student loan debt is one of the greatest national crises facing this generation. 

Total student loan debt in the United States currently stands at $1.3 trillion and is growing by the day. Nearly 45% of U.S. households have at least some student loan debt and this number is only increasing as the cost of college tuition rises faster than the rate of inflation. 

Student loan debt is crushing an entire generation of Americans who can’t move out of their parents house, get married or start a family because of their loans — many of which have interest rates of 7, 9, or even upwards of 11 percent.

Congress can, and should, do more to help students and parents. That’s why I recently filed the Fairness in Student Loan Lending Act, which takes commonsense steps to provide much needed relief to students and families struggling to pay off their loans. While this legislation will not fix the greater problem of college affordability, it will help lower monthly loan payments for millions of borrowers. 

Under my plan, student loan borrowers in good standing will be able to refinance their student loans to a rate equal to the 10-year Treasury note plus one percent. For example, a borrower who refinanced in February 2015 would have refinanced to a rate of 2.68%. Homeowners and car owners can work with their banks to refinance their debt and I believe students and parents should be able to do the same.

As I continue to lead the fight in Congress to bring down student loan interest rates and help students and parents struggling under a mountain of debt, I want to hear from you. Will you share your story with me?

Visit my website and share your story about how student loan debt is affecting you and your family. It’s important for Congress to hear how sky-high student loan rates are affecting you.



3 comments:

Anonymous,  April 1, 2015 at 4:31 PM  

So speaking for my family -- my son went to the local community college for two years, and then to the U of W. He graduated with zero college debt. He didn't joing a fraternity, didn't live on campus, didn't go to an Ivy Leage or out of state school.

I think the discussion about college debt needs to account for personal choices that people make - and that's what I haven't heard in the news reports.

Urban Aficionado April 23, 2015 at 11:49 AM  

Dear Anonymous, congrats to you for your kid for getting them through college without loans. Now if you grew a heart and realize that the world doesn't have supportive parents or at times more reasonable options for school you'd get off your soap box. Hell, most people don't even get proper education on loans, lenders or consequences when they're in school so its very easy to get swept up in mounting loans when they're just saying, sign the dotted to continue. The situation is that the damage has been done and people need relief, immediately. If banks, and businesses, and first time home owners could find themselves under water and get aid from the government so should student loans borrowers whose only crime was trying to get an education to get ahead in life.

Urban Aficionado April 23, 2015 at 11:49 AM  

Dear Anonymous, congrats to you for your kid for getting them through college without loans. Now if you grew a heart and realize that the world doesn't have supportive parents or at times more reasonable options for school you'd get off your soap box. Hell, most people don't even get proper education on loans, lenders or consequences when they're in school so its very easy to get swept up in mounting loans when they're just saying, sign the dotted to continue. The situation is that the damage has been done and people need relief, immediately. If banks, and businesses, and first time home owners could find themselves under water and get aid from the government so should student loans borrowers whose only crime was trying to get an education to get ahead in life.

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