WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced his cosponsorship of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, legislation that would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers.

“Higher education is a pathway to economic opportunity but the burden of excessive student loan debt can prevent college graduates from saving, starting businesses, or buying homes,” Brown said. “Despite the low interest rate environment, many graduates are trapped in high interest rate loans. Ensuring that students and graduates can refinance their loans for more affordable monthly payments will allow them to provide for their families and invest in their communities.”

Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly seven percent or higher for undergraduate loans, while students taking out new federal undergraduate loans pay a rate of 3.86 percent under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act passed by Congress in 2013. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow students and graduates to pay back their outstanding loans at the same rates that Senate Republicans overwhelmingly embraced in 2013 as appropriate for new borrowers.

There are 40 million Americans with outstanding student loans and the average student loan debt among those who borrow to earn a bachelor’s degree is nearly $30,000. According to The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), Ohio 2013 graduates ranked 11th in the nation for student loan debt. The Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act could lower payments for millions of those individuals by hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.