Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Gillibrand Pushes for Student Loan Legislation
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
ELMIRA -- (WENY) While college students are ready to graduate and hit the real world, they face an average student loan debt of more than $27,000.
Now, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is trying to push some major legislation. She wants students to be able to refinance current loans at a lower rate and is working with other lawmAkers to stop federal Stafford loan interest rates from doubling.
It's called the "Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act" and would help students out from across the board cuts from the so-called sequester.
"This is a major issue this access to higher education," says Mike Rogers, the Vice President of Public Relations at Elmira College.
A lot of students at Elmira College are worried about their college loans.
"It's a lot of money coming to go here and then on top of all the loans I have, it'd be really good to not have to pay that much after when I'm done," says Ashley Carney, Freshman.
Senator Gillibrand's legislation would freeze the interest rate on need-based student loans at 3.4 percent.
It would also allow refinancing federal loans at a fixed rate of 4 percent.
Some students say if they could refinance their loans, they would use that money to buy things that they really need and that would help boost the economy.
"I would probably buy a new car. I could focus more on going to grad school as well and not have to worry about those expenses so much," says Sara Lovell, a sophomore.
And she's not the only one. Madelaine Whalen is a sophomore who has plans to go to law school.
She says, "I did take out the federal Stafford loan and someday that's going to be a problem to pay it back."
422,000 students could face an interest rate hike to 6.8 percent for their Stafford loan, if congress doesn't act by July 1st.