Shaheen co-sponsors Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act

March 19, 2015

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Yesterday U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) cosponsored the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, legislation that was reintroduced to allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates offered to new borrowers in the 2013-2014 school year. New Hampshire ranks first in the country in average debt per graduate, at nearly $33,000, and according to estimates, nearly 130,000 New Hampshire residents could benefit from this bill.

“Throughout New Hampshire and across the country people are struggling with the increasing costs of higher education and that’s hurting our students and our economy,” said Shaheen. “Students should be able to refinance their loans just like homeowners can refinance their mortgages. Our plan will help borrowers save thousands on their loans and we ought to act on it on behalf of students who are struggling with crippling debt.”

Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher for their undergraduate loans, while students taking out new undergraduate loans in the 2013-2014 school year paid a rate of 3.86 percent under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act passed by Congress in 2013. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act could lower payments for millions of borrowers.

The average student loan debt among those who borrow to get a bachelor’s degree is more than $28,000 – and nearly 30% of Federal Direct student loan dollars are in default, forbearance, or deferment.

Throughout her career Shaheen has worked to make college more affordable and accessible, leading efforts to increase access to higher education for New Hampshire students and voting to maintain low interest rates for Stafford loans. She also supported education reforms in 2010 that increased the maximum Pell Grant to $5,730 to help low-income students go to college.