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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan Introduces Legislation to Let Students Refinance Their College Loans

Feb 3, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, today introduced legislation to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans. The bill, first introduced in 2013, would allow nearly 40 million Americans to refinance their federal student loans any time a lower interest rate is available.

“College graduates are drowning in loan payments and it’s weighing down our economy,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “The federal government should prioritize making a college education as affordable and accessible as possible. Today, two-thirds of Americans leave college weighed down by crushing student loan debt making it harder for them to start achieving their dreams or contribute to the economy after graduation.

“This bill will allow nearly 40 million Americans to refinance their student loans, just like a mortgage or car loan, bringing down the long-term cost of a college degree and increasing economic opportunities for graduates,” Rep. Pocan continued. “Every Member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to realize this is a serious economic problem which needs to be addressed. Our economy will never reach its full potential as long as Americans are weighed down by massive student loan debt.”

According to the New York Federal Reserve, total student debt has quadrupled over the past 10 years, shooting up from $240 billion at the start of 2003 to nearly $1 trillion in 2013. A comprehensive report on student loan debt by the Institute for One Wisconsin found student loan debt has a dramatic, negative effect on Wisconsin’s and the nation’s economy – impacting new home and car sales.  Of the more than $1.2 trillion in total student debt in this country, 83 percent is from federal student loans.

“Millions of American have worked hard to get an education and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it. They’ve earned a fair shot at the middle class, but instead they are increasingly saddled with decades of debt,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Rep. Pocan’s Student Loan Refinancing Act to let borrowers take advantage of lower interest rates is a common sense reform that will help restore fairness to a system gone awry and invigorate our economy.”

"Allowing students and families to refinance their student loan debt should not be a partisan issue,” said Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers. “With millions of American families saddled with exorbitantly high debt, and with interest rates at historically low levels, now is the time to provide immediate financial relief to students and their families. This bill will help hardworking Americans pay down their debt over time and will put more money in their wallets that they can use to further their dreams, invest in our communities and grow our  economy. It's smart economics, and it's good public policy."