Student loan bill fails in Senate

Last week Senate shot down the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, a bill aimed at helping college graduates pay back their student loan debt.

The bill would have allowed those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates only available to current borrowers. This refinancing would have been paid for by a tax increase for the upper class.

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The bill had received strong support from President Obama, as well as from Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who had pushed for the bill to pass and was frustrated when it did not.

“The decision by a minority of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate to prevent us from even debating my common-sense and deficit-neutral plan does nothing to strengthen our economy or invest in tomorrow’s leaders,” Udall said in a press release. “I am far from finished fighting, and I won’t give up on the 760,000 Coloradans with student loans. You deserve action, not partisan gamesmanship.”

Colorado State University students who knew of the legislation also said they were disappointed that it failed to pass.

“Being a middle class student at CSU, it was heartbreaking,” said Kelsey Bigham, junior history major and  president of Democrats at CSU.

The president of the Model United Nations at CSU agreed.

“I think it would have been a wonderful thing for students,” said President Kelsey Easton, junior English education major.”It’s disappointing.”

The bill was not supported by all, however.

This piece of legislation, while well-intentioned, misses the point,” said the spokesperson for Generation Opportunity, a private organization that advocates for students. “Raising taxes in an economy where young people are already faced with a 15.5 percent unemployment rate is shortsighted.”

Generation Opportunity stated that the bill likely did not receive adequate support in senate because of the tax increase on the upper class.

However, the fight is far from over, according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who introduced the bill.

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“We’re not giving up,” Sen. Warren said at a press conference June 11. “Homeowners are refinancing. Small businesses are refinancing. We just want young people who got an education to have their shot.”

Though the bill is aimed at helping young college students, Bigham said that many students at CSU are unaware of the bill.

“It is an issue that people are not paying attention,” Bigham said. “A lot of these types of bills directly affect students’ lives.”

Collegian Reporter Caitlin Curley can be reached at news@collegian.com.