Sen. Durbin Touts Plan To Lower Student Debt
By Sean Powers
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is touting a bill to allow students to refinance college loans at lower interest rates.
During a visit Wednesday to University of Illinois’ Urbana campus, the Illinois Democrat said students are incurring more debt than ever.
Durbin said some borrowers have interest rates at nearly 7 percent or higher, while those who took out loans last year have lower rates thanks to legislation passed by Congress. He said his plan would allow students to refinance at the lower rates.
“Those who are in default of student loans would not be eligible for the refinancing," Durbin said. "What we’re trying to do is make sure the system ultimately works. So, we need those payers – struggling payers – who are actually making their payments would have the chance for refinancing. Some of them could see their interest rates cut in half by this proposal, and it does make a difference.”
Durbin said his student loan bill would be supported by another measure that’s awaiting congressional approval, which would limit special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.
According to the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success, the average student loan debt nationally for the class of 2012 was about $30 thousand per borrower, with the Illinois rate slightly lower.