Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District highlighted the impact of legislation that would allow New Mexican’s with student loan debt to refinance their loans to take advantage of low interest rates. Luján is a cosponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which according to the Department of Education, would help 134,000 New Mexicans with student loan debt.
“Whether it’s buying that first home, raising a child, or saving for a dignified retirement, student loan debt is making it difficult for hard-working New Mexico families to get ahead,” Congressman Luján said. “During this period of historically low interest rates, consumers have had the opportunity to refinance loans on homes, cars and more, locking in rates that will save them money in the years to come. Unfortunately, student loan borrowers have been left out, unable to refinance their loans and cut their bills. This legislation takes a commonsense step to help address the growing burden of student loan debt faced by so many New Mexicans.”
The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act enables student loan borrowers, including those with graduate and parent loans, to refinance their loans at a lower interest rate, providing an opportunity for borrowers to reduce their payments and put thousands of dollars back in their pockets. According to the Department of Education, borrowers in the U.S. are carrying $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, including $6.1 billion from borrowers in New Mexico. The national average debt load for a bachelor’s degree recipient is approximately $30,000. Refinancing loans at today’s lower interest rates would save families an estimated $50 billion nationwide, which they could reinvest in their local economy.
This legislation stands in stark contrast to the Republican budget recently passed by the House, which will make college more expensive by cutting Pell Grants by $90 billion and freezing funding for 10 years. It also eliminates a provision that prevents low-income students with need-based loans from accruing interest while they are still in school, adding $34.8 billion to the indebtedness of America’s students.
“A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make, but the irresponsible Republican budget leaves everyday New Mexicans behind and makes a quality education more expensive,” added Luján. “Instead, Congress should stand with New Mexico families by giving relief to student loan borrowers that will also provide a boost to our economy.”