U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

Serving Florida

U.S Senator Bill Nelson Files Legislation to Reduce Student Debt

By Jocelyn Beever, WFSU
Jul 11, 2017

Next to home mortgages, student loans are America’s second highest amount of debt. Florida U.S Senator Bill Nelson wants to reduce that figure. Jocelyn Beever reports.

Nelson says Florida students with a four-year degree have an average of $23,000 in student loan debt. That’s $14,000 less than the national average, but Nelson believes it’s still too much:

“If we really want to build a strong middle class, we have to make higher education more affordable.”

Nelson says increasing student loan debt is a threat to America’s middle class, preventing graduates from homeownership and starting a family.

Recently, the federal government announced that it is increasing interest rates on federal student loans for this coming school year, which starts in September.

“Once the federal government sets the student loan interest rates for the year, they are fixed, now under current law, for the lifetime of that loan and they can't be refinanced even if the rates go lower,” Nelson says.

Nelson has filed a bill to allow graduates to refinance their loans once, lower the cap on interest rates, and get rid of student origination fees charged by the government. The interest rates for undergraduate loans increased from 3.76% to 4.45%. The hike took effect July first.