Rep. Steve Israel seeks interest cut for student loans

Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) has urged congress to pass the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, allowing borrowers with high interest rates on existing student loans to refinance at lower levels.

Student loan borrowers currently pay interest rates as high as 7 percent on existing loans. 

“High interest rates and student loan debt are crushing hard-working New Yorkers. Instead of saving to buy a home, starting a business, or putting money away for a safe and secure retirement, college grads are being saddled by high interest student loan payments,” Israel said. “We shouldn’t wait any longer to pass this commonsense legislation, which not only allows millions of hard-working Americans to refinance their student loans at today’s low interest rates, but makes it possible for the next generation of New Yorkers to achieve the American dream.” 

Israel’s comments come in support of SUNY Old Westbury President Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, who said he believes that new legislation would benefit everybody.

“Today’s student debt crisis is making the American Dream of higher education harder and harder to realize for this generation of students,” Butts said. “By allowing students and their families to refinance their loans at lower rates, the ‘Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act’ takes an important step in enabling them and their families to gain stronger footholds, which makes them stronger participants in our economy overall. We all benefit from that.”

Under new legislation, borrowers could refinance undergraduate loans at an interest rate of 3.86 percent.

In a news release from the congressman’s office, Israel cited that New York State has an estimated 2,825,000 federal student loan borrowers and nationwide student loan debt totals $1.3 trillion.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, an estimated 25 million Americans could take advantage of the student loan refinancing legislation and refinance their existing loans with lower interest rates.

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Joe Nikic

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