Beyond resistance: Ensuring people are rewarded—not punished—for pursuing higher education

August 16, 2017

Dear Friends,

It is the 19th day of my email series, “Beyond Resistance: The things we should do to make us safer, healthier, and more economically secure.” Today’s topic: making student loan debt more manageable.

Over 44 million Americans are faced with student loan debt. With rising tuition prices, students are struggling to pursue an education without jeopardizing their future. In Oregon, over 40,000 students take out need-based loans every year, and the average college student’s debt is $14,000. Students graduate, hopeful for their future, but are burdened by an overwhelming amount of student debt they may never be able to pay off.

We need to increase support for higher education and grants for students, but that’s not enough.

While banks and businesses can refinance public and private loans at a lower rate, students cannot refinance student loans. I support the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to allow students to take advantage of lower interest rates and save money. I also support the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act to encourage employers to provide educational assistance, including loan repayment, for employees. This way, individuals can both make a living and pay off their debt in a reasonable time.

Educational debt is holding back an entire generation. Congress must do everything within its power to change the system so that young people will be rewarded, not punished, for pursuing a higher education.

I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. You can connect with me here

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress