Mike Davies
January 2017

Virginia Democrats Seek to Chip Away at Student Debt

Virginia student loans are being addressed by the state’s Democrats because they argue that Virginia’s economy is being held back because their state’s graduates are not able to invest in the economy.

In the state of Virginia, the Democrats are hard at work on student loans. They are trying to ease student debt by lowering interest rates and having commonwealth play a role in issuing new loans. Why are they trying to attack student loans in their state so aggressively?

Democrats argue that Virginia’s economy is being held back because their state’s graduates are not able to invest in the economy. When you have debt, it doesn’t exactly motivate you to spend. Especially for young people who aren’t experienced in having debt or are just beginning their lives out on their own. Legislators in Virginia believe that student loan borrowers are delaying buying homes. They also believe that the borrowers are delaying starting their own families or seeking to start their own businesses because of their debt.

“We cannot move forward with a new Virginia economy when our next generation of leaders come out of school crippled with debt,” said 95th District Delegate Marcia Price (D). Democrats in Virginia have estimated that the borrowers that call Virginia home have a collective $30 billion in student debt. Which is leading Virginia House Democratic Caucus to try to resurrect the Virginia Education Loan Authority. That would allow these student loan borrowers to refinance their loans similar to a home mortgage.

“What we’d like to propose is a very robust, new Virginia student loan authority that has the power to make new loans for incoming students, as well as refinancing the loans of folks who’ve been out of school for a while,” 53rd District Delegate Marcus Simon (D) said. The plan would cost the state some money from their budget to get the new infrastructure up and running but Simon says a loan authority would show a return on investment for the state eventually.

Virginia isn’t the first one to introduce this kind of reform, Simon says the commonwealth could look to states like Rhode Island, Connecticut and North Dakota for reform. “We’re not the first ones to think of this, and we’re not the first ones to try it.”

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Mike Davies

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