Why We Must Bank On Students

Why We Must Bank On Students

President Obama and U.S. Senator believe we Must Bank On Students. Read why.

For us college students, financial aid, student loans, and the subsequent debt that we will carry with us for years after graduation are topics that we are deeply concerned about, and issues that we think about and discuss often.  Unfortunately, Senate Republicans do not share our concern not only for our own financial security, but for the economic stability of our nation.  On June 11, Senate Republicans blocked debate on the Bank on Students Bill.  The bill would help new and old student loan borrowers by allowing them to refinance their loans to today’s lower rates.  Senator Elizabeth Warren, a sponsor of the bill, took some time to discuss the bill with California College Democrats during a conference call last month, when she stated that, “we are becoming a country that works really well for the rich, but not so well for the middle class and everyone else.”  This is why the bill would be paid for with the “Buffett Rule” by closing a loophole which would have the effect of requiring households with over $1 million annual income to pay at least 30 percent of annual earnings in income, payroll and Medicare taxes.

Although Republicans threatened to filibuster, so debate on the bill never took place, Senator Warren and the other sponsors of the bill refuse to give up on America’s students.  So what’s next for the Bank on Students Bill and efforts to lessen the burden of debt on college grads? 

President Obama threw support behind the bill during an event in which he signed a memorandum proposing measures to allow federal direct student loan borrowers to cap loan payments at 10 percent of their income.  It is promising that the President has taken executive action, surpassing a deadlocked congress to provide hope for many recent grads struggling with student loan debt, but as he stated, we still need congress to act if these measures are to be truly effective.

It is unfortunate that many Republicans are not willing to cooperate and work with Democrats to solve this problem of rising student loan debt, but thankfully we have progressives like President Obama and Senator Warren working hard to do what is right for students and for the nation’s economy.  It is so critical now more than ever that we stand up for these issues that directly affect us as college students.  Student loan debt is over $1 trillion nationwide and it is the second most common type of debt in the United States, making this an important moment to make our voices heard and put pressure on congress to take action.

Written by Sarah Gissinger of the College Democrats of the Claremont Colleges.