Refinancing Federal Student Loans May be an Option Someday
If you have a mortgage or car loan payment that’s too high, the obvious thing to do is refinance. In many cases, that is the best way to manage high monthly payments, but that isn’t an option for federal student loan debt.
For student loan borrowers having trouble making payments, there are limited options to manage it. Borrowers have access to a variety of repayment plans based on the borrower’s income and some delayment options for last resorts, but those can actually increase the total amount paid because of interest that continues to accrue.
So far, borrowers haven’t been able to refinance federal student loans without moving them to the private sector. For many, the protections inherent in federal student loans are far too beneficial to ditch for a lower interest rate. But that might change soon.
Democrats are currently trying to provide a solution. Congressman Courtney and Senator Warren recently introduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (HR 2477) that would allow borrowers to refinance federal student loans at the 2016–2017 school year interest rate.
This isn’t brand new legislation. In the 113th Congress, Senators Sanders and Leahy of Vermont introduced the original bill that almost made it through. Every Senate Democrat and three Senate Republicans voted for it, but it was barely not enough to break a Republican filibuster. Hopefully this time it will make it through.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing hard, even urging President Trump to stand by his campaign rhetoric that the government “should not be making a profit off the backs of hardworking students,” though he has done nothing in office to support that. In fact, he has done the opposite by dismantling some protections put in place by the Obama administration.
“I urge the President to stop his Department of Education’s attacks on students, support this legislation, and demand action from his Republican colleagues,” says Warren.
Congressman Courtney is just as passionate about this legislation, saying, “Student debt hinders our economy because it delays or prevents borrowers from making other major investments including purchasing a home, starting a business, or simply saving for retirement. A college degree has become a critical part of securing a good-paying career and that is why keeping college affordable must be a top priority in Washington. I will continue to work to keep the dream of college within reach for Connecticut families.”
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