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Senator Bill Nelson Seeks to Tackle Increasing Federal Student Loan Rates

July 17th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Americans have over 1.5 trillion dollars in combined student loan debt, it more than credit car and auto loan debt.
Interest rates on those loans are climbing but US Senator Bill Nelson has filed a bill that would put caps on interest rates.
The average college graduate in Florida leaves college owing nearly 24 thousand dollars.
With interest rates at four and three quarters percent, students fear the amount of time the loans will take to pay back.
“Like for me personally I wanted to do music. So that’s going to be hard to do because it’s obviously not easy to have a successful music career,” said FSU student Raven Henry.
Interest rates on federal student loans are fixed, so once accepted they’re locked into that rate even if the rate drops in the future.
Between 2006 and 2013 the rate was as high as 6.8%.
“They’re putting off decisions about getting married, having a family, buying a home. Some of them don’t qualify for a mortgage because they’ve got so much student debt,” said Senator Nelson.
Senator Nelson has filed a bill in the US Senate that would cap the federal student loan interest rate for undergraduate students at 4%.
Under Current law, rates could rise up to 10% for undergraduates.
Senator Bill Nelson’s proposal would also allow those with current interest higher than 4% to refinance their debt at a lower rate.
The United Faculty of Florida says the legislation is a good first step.
UFF hopes to see similar efforts by the State Legislature to help make college more affordable for students.
“What’s happening is the higher cost of higher education is really restricting people of low income more than any other segment,” said UFF Executive Director, Marshall Ogletree.
Under the federal legislation, graduate student loan interest would be capped at 5 percent.
Senator Nelsons bill does not currently have a sponsor in the US House of Representatives.

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