U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Colleagues to Introduce Legislation Giving Students a Fair Shot at an Affordable Education

“Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act” Would Allow Borrowers to Refinance Existing Student Loans at Today’s Rates

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today joined her colleagues in support of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, legislation authored by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), which would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers.
“Making college affordable is one of the most important steps we can take toward building a strong path to the middle class for all Americans,” said Senator Baldwin.  “A college education should be a path to prosperity not a path to indebtedness, but student loan debt is holding back an entire generation and creating a drag on economic growth for our country. The ability to refinance at lower rates provides some relief to borrowers and gives them a fair shot at building a stronger future for themselves.”
Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly seven percent or higher for undergraduate loans, while students taking out new undergraduate loans pay a rate of 3.86 percent under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act passed by Congress last summer. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow students and young people to pay back their outstanding loans at the same rates that Senate Republicans overwhelmingly embraced just last summer as appropriate for new borrowers.
Nearly 40 million Americans have outstanding student loans. The Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act could lower payments for millions of those individuals by hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. The average student loan debt among those who borrow to get a bachelor’s degree is nearly $30,000 – and a shocking 30 percent of Federal Direct student loan dollars are in default, forbearance, or deferment. Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently projected that the government will bring in $66 billion in revenue on its federal student loans made between 2007 and 2012.
The legislation is fully funded by enacting the Buffett Rule, which would limit special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay lower effective tax rates than middle class families.
In addition to Senator Baldwin, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act is co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).
A companion bill is being introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives John Tierney (D-Mass.) and George Miller (D-Calif.).