Durbin: College Students Are Being Sentenced to Debt

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following Republican obstruction on the Senate Floor to once again block a vote on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act  a bill that would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates offered to new borrowers this past academic yearU.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement:

“Life is about choices. Each of us have made a choice on education, like where we’re going to go to school and what we’re going to study. There was a choice made on the Senate Floor today, and it was a choice by Senate Republicans to ignore students across America who are struggling to make ends meet because of overwhelming amounts of student loan debt,” Durbin said. “I hope America’s youth are paying close attention to this issue. It shows the stark difference between those Senators who believe hardworking students deserve a fair shot at the American Dream and those who will stand by and do nothing as America’s next generation is sentenced to debt.”

Durbin is a co-sponsor of the Bank of Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. If the bill were to pass, it could help over one million Illinoisans refinance their student loans. There are nearly 40 million Americans with outstanding student loans, nearly 1.7 million in Illinois. The average student loan debt for Illinois students in the class of 2012 was $28,028.  Many of these borrowers have interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher for undergraduate loans. The Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act would save the average borrower $2,000 over the life of their loan. 

Durbin, along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Jack Reed (D-RI) have been working together on efforts to build broad support in the Senate for legislative action to reduce new student loan debt and make it easier for millions of working families to manage the student loan debt they already have.  In addition to the Bank of Students Emergency Refinancing Act, the three introduced the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights Act and the Protect Student Borrowers Act of 2013.  The Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights Act would ensure struggling student loan borrowers are treated fairly and understand the full range of repayment options and resources available to them. The Protect Student Borrowers Act of 2013 would help make institutions of higher education more accountable for student indebtedness by requiring institutions to assume some of the risk of a student loan default.