February 24, 2014

(Durham, NH) – In advance of introducing new legislation aimed to help students and graduates manage student loan debt, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today met with students at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) at Durham to discuss the rising cost of higher education and her proposals to address the issue. Shaheen outlined her plan to introduce a bill that would develop an online portal to allow students to review all their public and private student loans as well as repayment options in one place which would in turn help students better manage, understand and repay their debt.

“Higher education is one of the best investments we can make to keep our country a magnet for jobs and economic opportunity,” Shaheen said. “It’s unacceptable that New Hampshire students and families are being squeezed into debt at the rates they are and being forced to carry balances that can cost as much as a home.

“We need to do everything we can to make college more affordable and accessible,” Shaheen added. “My proposal will give students in New Hampshire and across the country tools to help manage repayment, know their options and get help when they need it.” 

Nationally, students hold nearly $1.2 trillion in student debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Project on Student Debt estimates that New Hampshire students leave school with an average debt of nearly $33,000, and that 74 percent of New Hampshire students leave school with debt.

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  and the Pay As You Earn repayment plan to help students and families manage college tuition. Shaheen called on the President last month to work with Congress on a plan to lower student debt. Shaheen will soon be introducing her legislation on the issue.