News Column

Heitkamp to Host Facebook Q&A on the Need Make College Affordable

May 19, 2014

WASHINGTON, May 19 -- The office of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., issued the following news release:

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp will host a Facebook Q&A on Wednesday, May 21, starting at 6:00 p.m. CT to answer questions about how student loan debt is making getting a higher education unaffordable for students and their families, and dragging down economic growth.

"Last weekend, thousands of North Dakota students celebrated their college graduations with hopes of bright futures and endless opportunities," said Heitkamp. "But with 83 percent of North Dakota's graduates facing some student loan debt - the most out of any state in the country - many students are already burdened with financial obligations that will make it more difficult for them to get off on the right start, and eventually buy a home, save for retirement, start a business, or even start a family. All students deserve a fair shot at success without being buried in student loan debt. I look forward to answering questions on Facebook about how we can make that possible and how I'm working to make getting a higher education more affordable."

In addition to in-person meetings, phone calls, emails and letters, social media is another way for Heitkamp to connect and hear from North Dakotans. Heitkamp has done several Twitter town halls in the past about education, the conflict in Syria and the need for a long-term Farm Bill, as well as a Facebook Q&A about her efforts to create an all-of-the-above energy approach.

How it works:

- Log on to and become a fan of Senator Heidi Heitkamp's Facebook page.

- On Wednesday, May 21 at 6:00pm CT, post a question relating to college affordability on the Facebook Q&A post that will appear.

- Follow along to see the other questions posted, and Heitkamp's responses.

- Senator Heitkamp will respond to as many questions as possible relating to student loans and college affordability.

Facebook Q&A

Who: Senator Heidi Heitkamp

When: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

6:00 p.m. CT

Where: Senator Heidi Heitkamp's Facebook page

As someone who paid for college with student loans, Heitkamp understands the importance of both making higher education more affordable, and enabling North Dakotans to more easily finance their studies without saddling them with insurmountable amounts of debt.

Heitkamp recently helped introduce a bill to allow North Dakotans with existing student loan debt to refinance to lower interest rates. Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher for undergraduate loans, while students taking out new undergraduate loans pay a rate of about 3.86 percent. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow students to pay back their outstanding loans at the same, lower rates Congress overwhelmingly embraced last summer for new borrowers. It would save students thousands of dollars, enabling them to avoid being stuck in debt for years, if not decades, after they graduate, and boosting our economy.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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