46 Members of Congress have outstanding student debt, new study finds
Forty-six members of the United States Congress still hold significant student debt, a new study conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals.
Prominent names on the list include incoming Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) and Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R).
Despite being an alumna, and previously employed as a professor at Harvard Law, Sen. Warren still owes between $15,000 and $50,000 to the school.
The study found that four members of the House Education subcommittee dealing with higher education, and two members of the Senate Education Committee, are also on the list.
Another prominent name on the list is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who began his senate term with over $100,000 in student debt, but has since paid it off.
Rubio called for heightened awareness on the issue of student debt in his rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
The member with the most amount of student debt is California Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) who owes between $115,000 and $300,000, likely accrued during years studying to become a physician at Harvard University.
Obama argued in his State of the Union address Tuesday that his administration had lowered the cost of education, but that more work remained.
“Today, skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt,” he said. “Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education.”
House Democrats have proposed legislation that would allow for students to drop debt incurred in higher education in the case of bankruptcy. One of the sponsors of the bill, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, is on the list of Congressmen with student debt.
Senate Democrats have proposed two bills that would provide more resources to educate and counsel college students should they choose to take on high levels of debt.
Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of a site that tracks student debt, FinAid.com, told Campus Reform the fact that Congressmen have student debt shows how the problem permeates through all of society.
Regardless, Kantrowitz said there still remains a great deal of reluctance in Congress to forgive student debt, which is currently estimated $1 trillion dollars among 37 million Americans.
“There is a general reluctance to tinker with that legislation and there’s also a reluctance to provide a bankruptcy discharge, especially for federal loans,” Kantrowitz said.
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