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Al Lawson Pushes Major Student Loan Reform on Capitol Hill

August 7, 2017 - 6:00am

A freshman Democrat from the Sunshine State has offered a proposal for student loan reform, insisting higher education debts are keeping people from obtaining the American Dream. 

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., brought out the “Student Opportunity Act” at the end of last month and showcased towards the end of last week. 

Lawson’s proposal would allow for refinancing of all public and federal student loans that were established with high interest rates and first distributed before July 1, 2010. Under the legislation, all public, federal student loans would have interest rates at half a percentage point higher than the ten year treasury note interest rate. Lawson’s proposal would also cut out origination fees and provide tax relief to Americans who are repaying student loans.  

On Thursday, Lawson made the case for his bill. 

“Education is a fundamental facet of the American dream,” Lawson said. “Across the country, students attend colleges and universities with the hopes of climbing the economic ladder, providing for their families, and working to meet new challenges with ingenuity and expertise.

 “Unfortunately, the cost of college has increased significantly in the last decade and for many Americans, this avenue to a brighter future has become unaffordable,” Lawson added. “Reducing student debt will help increase economic activity and provide our nation’s students with the relief and opportunity they deserve.”

Lawson has rounded up a dozen co-sponsors including fellow freshman U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla. The bill was sent to the House Education and the Workforce and the Ways and Means committees. 

After two previous attempts, Lawson was elected to Congress last year, defeating longtime U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., in the primary. Before that, Lawson was a longtime state legislator, spending almost two decades in the Florida House before being elected to the state Senate in 2000. He was term limited out in 2010 when he first ran for Congress. Despite being a freshman, Lawson is the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Technology.



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All students who take out a loan should be required to sit down with a loan officer and given a printout that shows them how much their student loan payment will be per month. At the same time they should also receive a printout showing the projected job openings and starting salaries for their chosen major and, based upon that information, how long and what percentage of their monthly income will go to servicing the loan. If they see that a major in Peruvian literature won't cover their bills, they might make a more rational career choice.

Commendable for Rep. Lawson to comprehend that crushing student debt is destroying the American Dream for the indentured educated class in America. Predatory lending combined with the revocation of loan forgiveness under the current administration is direct threat to the economic well-being of the country. We must address the student loan bubble before it pops and we spiral into another recession.

Kids aren't forced to take loans. Most have Bright Futures and use loans to finance eating out and living in a place nicer than most middle class Americans. kids also need to stop taking loans out for degrees with no good job prospects. Time to start saying NO to these loans

Leave it to a DEMONcrat to create yet another transfer of wealth initiative. I am incensed at the notion the terms bargained for at the time of the loan was made are now trying to be reformed. The economic dynamics are what they are. No one forced the student to take on the financial OBLIGATION. Most of the people I know worked their way through college to pay for expenses scholarships and grants did not cover. And I matriculated during the Carter years where interest rates topped out at 21%. I didn't whine. And I paid back both my Federal and State backed loans and survived the experience. It builds character and responsibility. Two traits in short supply with liberals today.

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