Bustos Continues Efforts To Make College More Affordable For Illinois Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) continued her efforts to make college more affordable by supporting lowering student loan interest rates and allowing for the re-financing of existing student loans.

“Making higher education more affordable and accessible should always be a priority which is why I support giving relief to students from the skyrocketing student debt hurting young people and dragging down our economy,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.  “I’ll continue to do everything I can to make college more affordable because as the mother to three sons, I know firsthand that access to a quality education is key to achieving the American Dream.”

The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rate of 3.86% currently offered to new borrowers.  Many borrowers with outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly 7% or higher, while students taking out new undergraduate loans pay a rate of 3.86% under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act passed by Congress last summer.  It is the House companion version of the bill championed by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in the U.S. Senate.

Bustos has been a leader when it comes to making college more affordable for Illinoisans.  Last year, Bustos introduced the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013, that would keep interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford student loans locked in place at 3.4%. 

Bustos also conducted a week-long “Communities Working Together For Jobs” listening tour across the 17th Congressional District of Illinois.  To address concerns she heard during the tour, Bustos then introduced the Access to Education and Training Act, which would allow students who receive Pell grants to take advantage of the Pell grants year-round, including during the summer months, even if the student went to school full-time during the fall and spring semesters.  Many of those who would benefit most are non-traditional students who want to complete their courses faster so they can get back into the workforce.   

Bustos also authored an op-ed on the need to keep college affordable