News Column

McCaskill Backs Bill to Address Rising Student Loan Debt

June 9, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 9 -- The office of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has issued the following news release:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today announced her support for a sweeping bill to allow individuals to refinance their student loan debt at lower interest rates, helping address the record high levels of crippling loan debt and delinquencies increasingly affecting millions of students and their families.

Student loan debt today totals $1.2 trillion, $864 billion of which is backed by the federal government. More than 70 percent of students who graduated from college in 2012 had student loan debt. The average debt for a 2012 graduate from a Missouri university was $23,030.

The U.S. Department of Education estimates this new legislation would benefit 523,000 Missouri students.

"For thousands of Missouri's young people, staggering student loan debt is strangling the economic opportunities that are supposed to come with a college degree-every dollar paid in interest on that debt, is a dollar not invested in a small business or a new home," McCaskill said. "I personally benefited from student loans when I was in school, and I'll continue fighting to make sure that every student who works hard gets a fair shot at an affordable college education."

The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their high-interest federal loans to the low rates offered to new federal student loan borrowers. The bill would also allow eligible students with loans from the private market to refinance their high-interest private student loans by converting the private loans to government loans. Those who refinance their private loans would gain access to the protections and benefits of the federal student loan programs.

The legislation is fully paid for.

McCaskill previously fought for an expansion of federal student loans, and recently led the charge to prevent a drastic increase in student loan interest rates. McCaskill also helped pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which made college more affordable for Missouri families by boosting Pell Grants, cutting interest rates on college loans, and providing loan forgiveness for students who spend ten years in public service, as well as opening up TEACH Grants for undergraduates who commit to teaching in high-need school districts.

Read more about McCaskill's work to expand educational opportunities HERE (

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Source: Targeted News Service

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