News Column

Key Student Loan Affordability Bill Fails in Senate

June 11, 2014



WASHINGTON, June 11 -- The National Education Association issued the following news release:

Yet another important piece of legislation aimed at helping Americans struggling with student loan debt was blocked in Congress today by filibuster. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act failed to get the 60 votes needed to proceed to a floor debate.

Students, parents, educators and Pres. Barack Obama have called on Congress to act regarding the dual threat of rising tuition and college debt, which is putting undue pressure on students and families and causing many high school students to reconsider applying to colleges and universities.

"As President Obama said Monday, some in Congress are working hard to block any progress on this issue and any others that will help working families," said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. "Instead of fighting for working families and college affordability, some members of Congress are fighting to keep their millionaire constituents from paying their fair share of taxes. But the fact is, students and families desperately need fiscal relief. It's past time to hold politicians accountable for meeting the needs of students."

Sen. Warren's bill would have allowed millions of students who took out loans before July 1, 2013, to refinance and pay a lower rate, while private student loan borrowers in good standing on their loans could refinance into the federal student loan program.

High student loan debt negatively impacts NEA members and their students as potential teachers reconsider their career choice in favor of a more profitable profession that will enable them to have less debt or to pay their debt back sooner.

"Our students can't afford to have potentially great teachers leave the classroom because they can't afford the high cost of the education needed for them to be successful," said former Student Virginia Education Association President Brittany Jones, who testified June 4 before the Senate Budget Committee.

"Student loan debt has been the driving force of my decisions for the last eight years of my life, and according to my current repayment plan, it is projected to be for the next 25 years of my life, well into the years for which I should be planning a retirement. It should not be that way."

NEA launched its "Degrees Not Debt" campaign earlier this year to draw attention to the need for an increase in need-based student aid, more affordable student loans, expanded loan forgiveness programs and institutional aid hikes.

"Educators believe all students should have a fair shot at a college education so they can pursue their dreams. Today's students are tomorrow's educators, doctors, nurses, engineers, and scientists--the next generation of innovators who will drive our country and our economy forward," said Van Roekel.

For more information on NEA's Degrees Not Debt campaign, please click here. http://www.nea.org/home/degreesnotdebt.html

Follow NEA at twitter.com/neamedia. Join the conversation by using the #DegreesNotDebt hashtag.

[Category: Education]

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