Sen. Durbin pushes student loan legislation at U of I

Champaign -- Senator Dick Durbin (D--Illinois) met with students and administrators at the University of Illinois Wednesday to push legislation that would lower student debt.

The bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month, and if passed, it will allow students and alumni at colleges across the country to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate.

According to Durbin, many of those paying off student debt are doing so at interest rates of seven percent or higher.

However, under the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, those rates could drop down to 3.86 percent for undergraduate borrowers, and 5.41 percent for graduate students.

These rates already apply to anyone who took out new loans last summer after President Obama signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, but Durbin says this new legislation would extend to those who took out loans before last July and would be funded by limiting tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

"The Buffet Rule," said Durbin. "That is how we pay for refinancing higher education. We put this together, we think it works well, there are some who are going to push back and say even if you're just raising taxes on millionaires and beyond, they won't vote for a tax increase. That's the reality, the political reality."

Durbin is a co-sponsor of the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation as early as next week.
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