Dropping Interest Rates for New Student Loans Highlights Need for Refinancing Options

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, it was reported that student loan interest rates for 2015-2016 school year would decrease for students and their families.

“This further reduction in student loan interest rates highlights the need for Congress to immediately pass the Bank on Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (H.R. 1434) to provide young people and their families with an opportunity to take advantage of these new, lower rates,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “More than a trillion dollars in student debt is crippling America’s families and preventing them from realizing the American dream. We must give these families the opportunity to refinance their loans, just like a mortgage or car loan, while working to ensure that a college education is accessible and affordable to all.”

Passage of the Bank on Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act will allow more than 2.3 million Californians to refinance some of their student loans at lower interest rates.

The Bank on Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act was introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and its Senate companion was introduced the Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA.)  Congresswoman Lee is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.  Currently, some borrowers are paying as much as 7 percent interest on their student loans. Under this bill, borrowers could refinance their undergraduate loans at 3.86 percent.

Congresswoman Lee is also a co-sponsor of Congressman Charles Rangel’s (NY-13)  Student Loan Interest Deduction Act (H.R. 509) to double the amount of student loan interest that can be written off on federal taxes and Congressman John Delaney’s (MD-6) Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act (H.R. 449) to allow for the discharge of education loans in bankruptcy. Congresswoman Lee serves on the funding committee that oversees education spending.


 Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.