Bankrupted By Student Debt, And Fighting For Change

Massachusetts native Andy Wordell spent much of the 1990s getting her undergraduate and graduate degrees, with a dream of becoming a social worker.

Two decades later, she’s still paying the price for pursuing that dream – with $75,000 in student loan debt.

That’s why Wordell today came before a packed Senate meeting room, video cameras recording her calm, solemn voice as she talked about the $1,000 a month she is still paying on her student loans and the bankruptcy filings that both she and her spouse have had to file. Her message was simple: Give her and the 40 million other Americans struggling under student loan debt a chance to refinance those loans at lower interest rates.

“Refinancing student loans is not only fair thing to do, it is the right thing to do,” Wordell said.

Campaign for America’s Future joined Generation Progress and a number of other organizations at a news conference supporting legislation to be voted on in the Senate Wednesday that would allow student loan borrowers to lower their rates. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), was there to urge its support, along with along with co-sponsors Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would enable people stuck in loans that have interest rates that frequently exceed 7 percent – in fact, Udall said he has seen student loan rates as high as 14 percent – to refinance those loans at a rate as low as 3.86 percent.

Franken said that in his state alone, 500,000 people – close to one out of every 10 state residents – would benefit from the Refinancing Act.

Warren’s bill has 43 co-sponsors, but it still faces a tough challenge from Republican opponents. Call 202-517-2321 to use our click-to-call tool to let your senator know that you stand with the 40 million Americans who have existing student loan debt.

During the question and answer session, reporters actively questioned the use of the “Buffet Rule” – billionaire Warren Buffett’s stipulation that wealthy people shouldn’t be paying taxes at a lower rate than the people who work for them – to cover the cost of the refinancing bill. Schumer remarked that the Republicans have failed to propose an alternative solution to funding the reduction in interest rates for student loans.

Our total student loan debt already stands at $1.2 trillion. We cannot let that number continue to skyrocket. Call 202-517-2321 to use our click-to-call tool and get your senator on board.

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