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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney, Warren Introduce Bill to Aid Student Loan Borrowers

March 13, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced the bicameral Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, a bill that would allow undergraduate borrowers repaying public or private loans to refinance those loans to an interest rate of 3.76 percent. The bill would also allow graduate and parent borrowers to refinance to competitive rates, reducing monthly payments and helping borrowers repay loans sooner. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act is a continuation of Congressman Courtney and Senator Warren’s efforts to help families and students afford the costs of higher education and to reduce the burden of student loan debt.

“With interest rates near historic lows, students and recent graduates should be able to refinance their debts in the same way that we allow business entities, homeowners, and others to refinance,” said Congressman Courtney. “A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make, but it’s also become one of the most expensive – and student loans often come with higher interest rates than mortgages, car loans and other forms of consumer lending. With so many young borrowers struggling to make payments on student loans with overinflated interest rates and on legacy loans with high interest rates that are locked-in, and with agencies like the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sounding the alarm on the dangers of rising student debt, Congress shouldn’t wait any longer to take action on Senator Warren’s and my bill, which will help ease the burden on student and family borrowers by giving them the same sort of refinancing options available in other markets.”

"The student debt crisis is real for millions of Americans, and our current student loan system is deeply unfair to borrowers,” Senator Warren said. “This legislation has always been about basic fairness: people should be able to lower their federal student loan interest rates and reduce their debt burdens like they can with a mortgage, car loan, or other consumer loans.”

The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow borrowers with existing public or private student loans to refinance those loans to a 3.76 percent annual interest rate – the same lower rate that was offered in the 2016-2017 school year. Graduate school loans could be refinanced to 5.41 percent, and parent loans for a child’s education to 6.41 percent. According to estimates from the Department of Education, about 25 million borrowers would be likely to refinance under this legislation, and borrowers would receive an average savings of $2,000 over the life of their loan.

Congressman Courtney discussed the introduction of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act at this morning’s full committee hearing of the House Education & Labor Committee, titled, “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach.” To watch the video, click here.

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives with 58 co-sponsors, including Representatives Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Kathy Castor (FL-14), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Gilbert Ray Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Susan Davis (CA-53), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Bill Foster (IL-11), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Katie Hill (CA-25), James A. Himes (CT-04), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), William R. Keating (MA-09), Derek Kilmer, (WA-06), John B. Larson (CT-01), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP), Linda T. Sanchez (CA-38), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Shakowsky (IL-09), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Jose E. Serrano (NY-15), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Adam Smith (WA-09), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-41), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Dina Titus (NV-01), David Trone (MD-06), Peter J. Visclosky (IN-01), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Peter Welch (VT-AL), Susan Wild (PA-07), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).

The bill was introduced in the Senate along with 34 co-sponsors, including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

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