WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded Luke Waters, a junior at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), for representing students across the nation facing the burden of student debt. Waters was selected to speak at a college affordability rally today in Washington, D.C., hosted by Senate Democrats. Waters spoke in support of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, legislation which would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers.
Waters earned a full academic scholarship to OWU but took out unsubsidized Stafford Loans to cover room and board. His interest rate was 6.8 percent his freshman year and, after Congress passed legislation last summer to lower interest rates, his sophomore year interest rate was 3.86 percent. Upon graduation, instead of enjoying the new 3.86 percent interest rate, his final interest rate will be a weighted average of his total loan debt.
“Instead of being saddled with a lifetime of student loan debt, college graduates should be able to start businesses, buy homes, and contribute to their families and communities,” Brown said. “Ensuring that students, like Luke, and graduates can refinance their loans for more affordable monthly payments is not just the right thing to do, it will also strengthen our economy.”
Brown continues his fight to ensure Ohio’s students can receive an affordable college education. In April 2014, with student loan debt now exceeding $1 trillion, Brown announced his support for the Know Before You Owe Private Student Loan Act which would protect college students and their families from confusing private student loan practices. This bill would require private student loan lenders to make contracts easier to understand to prevent borrowers from ending up with unexpected and overwhelming debt. Brown also is the author of the Refinancing Education Funding to Invest (REFI) for the Future Act. Brown’s bill would help individuals saddled with costly, private student loans refinance to more affordable options—at no cost to taxpayers.