Rep. Mark Pocan discusses Student debt during Higher Ed Not Debt Town Hall

As part of a “Higher Ed Not Debt” national day of action, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan answered questions about student loan debt on Twitter Thursday.

The online town hall was one of several scheduled with elected officials and activists throughout the day in conjunction with the launch of the Higher Ed Not Debt campaign, which aims to address the growing problem of student loan debt in the U.S.

Pocan discussed his proposed legislation, introduced in September, which would allow anyone with federal student loan debt to refinance to the lowest interest rate available. Nearly 40 million Americans would qualify for refinancing if the bill passes, Pocan said.

Pocan tweeted that the proposal is “gaining steam” but said the opposition is that “GOP majority has not made interest rates a priority, for either new loans or refinancing. Need to education, (sic) agitate.”

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve System, some 753,000 Wisconsinites have federal student loan debt, not including those who obtained private loans to pay for college. Residents who leave school after earning a bachelor’s degree, on average, graduate with $22,400 in student loan debt. With current interest rates on the federal loans, they will pay $388 a month for nearly 19 years, or until they are in their 40s.

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