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Senate Republicans Continue to Block Student Loan Refinance Bill

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García: “To ignore the millions struggling with student loan debt is unconscionable”


WASHINGTON - September 16, 2014 -

Yet again a minority in the Senate has obstructed key legislation to help students and adults struggling with high student loan debt interest rates. This afternoon, Republicans failed to allow the Senate to debate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (S. 2432). This critical legislation would amend the Higher Education Act to allow students who took out loans before July 1, 2013, to refinance and pay the same low rates as new borrowers. This legislation would also help defuse a looming financial crisis—total student loan debt now stands at $1.2 trillion and exceeds total credit card debt.

“Senator Warren’s legislation would help so many who continue to struggle with high student loan payments while juggling so many other expenses; yet it keeps falling victim to Republicans who side with banks over the needs of millions of students and their families working to pay for their higher education,” said National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García .

“NEA members across the country are working hard to make their loan payments on new teacher salaries and are asking for help for themselves and for their students. They don’t want the high cost of a college education to keep their students from choosing to go on to college, and teachers don’t want their own loan payments to force them out of the teaching profession. But the fact is, so many great graduates just cannot afford to enter, or stay in, this profession,” said Eskelsen García .

NEA believes every American deserves a fair shot at higher education, but student loan debt has become a barrier to the American dream. NEA’s Degrees Not Debt campaign is working to help students, educators, parents and community members raise their voices for college affordability.

Follow NEA at twitter.com/neamedia. Join the conversation using #DegreesNotDebt. Take the Degrees Not Debt pledge here.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823, srobertson@nea.org