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Heinrich Cosponsors Bill To Address Skyrocketing Student Loan Debt

Outstanding student loans now total more than $1 trillion, surpassing total credit card debt

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is cosponsoring legislation that would allow New Mexicans with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers. The bill, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, was introduced today by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

"For the first time in our nation's history, the total amount of student loan debt has exceeded the total amount of credit card debt. This very real problem weighs heavily on New Mexico families," said Sen. Heinrich. "By helping borrowers refinance their student loans and pay down their debt at a lower rate, graduates will have a better chance at building a brighter economic future."

According to estimates by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, outstanding student loan debt is approaching $1.2 trillion as of May 2013 and student loans guaranteed or held by the federal government have now crossed the $1 trillion mark.

Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher for undergraduate loans, while students taking out new undergraduate loans pay a rate of 3.86 percent under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act passed by Congress last summer. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow our students and young people to pay back their outstanding loans at the same rates that Senate Republicans overwhelmingly embraced just last summer as appropriate for new borrowers.