Durbin promotes bill to lower interest rates on student loans

May  09, 2014

       Congress may help former college students refinance their student loans. During a visit to Augustana College toda, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin promoted a set of bills that would help nearly 40 million of Americans who owe $1.2 trillion for their college education. 

      Durbin says student debt has become a national problem aggravated by private lenders and for-profit universities. The legislation would allow people paying interest rates of 7 percent and more to refinance, and pay less than 4 percent interest. 

      "We want to make sure that students from lower income, middle income, and working families have a fair shot at a higher education they can afford. We want the college experience to be an enrichment for their lives and not shackle them to a debt which is going to drag them down for decades to come."

      Durbin was joined by Joshua Schipp, who graduated from Augustana College in 2010 with over 100 thousand dollars in debt.

      "At first it was a nightmare, $700 a month on $11 an hour with student loans and cost of living. I wasn't able to keep up. One of my loans fell into default. I was getting harrassed by the collection agency."

      The refinancing would be made possible by limiting tax breaks for the nation's wealthiest taxpayers.

      Durbin says these bills would also educate students about their loans and hold lenders responsible for what he calls, "sinking students in debt." He also says he wants to introduce legislation that will allow debtors to file bankruptcy for student loans, if they have to.