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Senator Sanders Calls for Action to Address High Average Student Loan Debt

Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress

A new report from the U.S. Joint Economic Committee shows two-thirds of college graduates have student loan debt. It also finds that the amount of debt is more than 60 percent of the average annual income for recent graduates.

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is a member of the Joint Economic Committee. In releasing the report on Tuesday, he noted that only six other states had higher average student loan debt amounts than those in Vermont. Sanders is calling for Congress to take action.  He wants legislation to prevent the doubling of Stafford Student Loan interest rates to 6.8 percent on July 1st.
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, known as VSAC, is a nonprofit agency that provides  grants, loans, scholarships, career and education planning. President and CEO Don Vickers says the numbers in the report are not a surprise.

The report finds that 63 percent of Vermont students have loans with an average balance of $28,860. Vickers explains that’s due to state funding for education.

Senator Sanders wants action on a proposal by Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren that would offer students the same 0.75 percent loan rate that the Federal Reserve grants to Wall Street banks. Vickers explains that the proposal would link the interest rate on student loans to the cost of Treasury borrowing, which does not currently occur.

Sixty percent of college students in New York have an average debt over 26,000. SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association President Vanessa Capon will be a senior this fall majoring in gender and womens’ studies. She originally planned to attend a private college.

Capon says college costs are a huge topic of conversation and concern on campus.

VSAC’s Don Vickers cautions that overall, college debt has dire implications if not addressed.

A link to the report is available here.

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