News Column

Murray Calls for GOP Support for Student Loan Debt Relief Bill

June 11, 2014



WASHINGTON, June 11 -- The office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., issued the following news release:

Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate will vote to consider a bill to help ease the burden of student loan debt called the "Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act," which Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has co-sponsored. In 2012, 56 percent of graduates from Washington state four-year colleges and universities had student debt, and on average those graduates owed more than $23,000, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Ahead of the vote, Murray released the following statement, calling on her Republican colleagues to work with Democrats to ease the burden of student debt for borrowers in Washington state and around the country.

"Too many borrowers in Washington state and around the country are struggling under the crushing weight of student debt. These are people who chose to further their education and build their skills, which will help strengthen our economy and the middle class, and we should be doing all we can in Congress to help ease that burden of overwhelming student debt. I was proud to join Senator Warren and a number of my colleagues in co-sponsoring a bill - the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act - to let borrowers with student debt refinance their loans to today's lower rates. This bill would put more money in people's pockets, so they can make ends meet, save up for a down payment on a home, start a new business, and make the kinds of purchases that would further aid our economic recovery.

"Tomorrow, Congress will vote to consider our bill to ease the burden of student debt and Republicans have a choice to make. They can side with borrowers, letting them save money and spur economic growth, by voting to advance this bill and working with us to pass it, or, they can block it, and continue to say 'tough luck' to millions of borrowers, including 450,000 people in Washington state, who are struggling under the weight of student debt.

"I am hopeful Republicans will side with borrowers and join us to help our economy, and to help lift the burden of student loans for the people of our state and around the country."

Student Loan Debt in Washington State:

Average Debt (WA State): $23,293 (2012) [The Institute for College Access & Success, 2013]

* Public, 4 year graduates: $21,383

* Private-Nonprofit, 4 year graduates: $28,849

Proportion of Graduates with Debt (WA State): 56% (2012) [The Institute for College Access & Success, 2013 (http://www.projectonstudentdebt.org/state_by_state-data.php)]

* Public, 4 year graduates: 53%

* Private-Nonprofit, 4 year graduates: 67%

Total Debt (WA State): $18,215,798 (2014) [Domestic Policy Council and the Council of Economic Advisors, 6/10/14 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/228922190/Student-Debt-Report-6AM-EMBARGO)].

Potential Beneficiaries of Refinancing: 451,000 Washington State residents [Domestic Policy Council and the Council of Economic Advisors, 6/10/14 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/228922190/Student-Debt-Report-6AM-EMBARGO)].

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