90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sen. Warren Introduces Bill On Student Debt

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions witnesses during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on 'Mitigating Systemic Risk Through Wall Street Reforms,' on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is pictured on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wants the next debate in Congress on student loans to focus on helping borrowers refinance their debt.

Sen. Warren is introducing a bill that would open the door for potentially millions of recipients of federal loans to refinance at the same rate current recipients can get. Undergraduates, for example, qualify for loan at a 3.86 percentage rate.

The bill is part of a larger effort by Democrats to focus on college costs leading up to the November election. Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and John Tierney, D-Mass., were to file a companion bill in the House.

Sen. Warren discusses her proposal with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. She also responds to critics who say student debt is not a big problem, and the real issue is rapidly rising tuition.

Interview Highlights: Sen. Elizabeth Warren

On how much of a difference this would make to student loan holders

“The answer is, a lot. And of course it depends on exactly how much debt the students got and how old the loan is, because the older they are, for a lot of them, the interest rate’s higher. But what this will mean, is for many many students it will be hundreds of dollars a year and for many many more it will be thousands of dollars a year that they will save if the interest rates are refinanced.”

On her argument that the money saved would go back into the economy

“You bet. In fact, I’m not just making that case, that’s the case the Fed is making, the Treasury is making, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, because they’re all worried that right now what’s happening is that student loan debt is crushing young people. And so they’re not doing the things we would expect them to do. They’re not moving out of their parents’ homes in as big a numbers, they’re not saving up money for down payments, they’re not buying homes or cars or starting small businesses or doing any of the things that help move this economy forward.”

On whether rising college costs are the real root of the problem

“There’s no doubt about it, refinancing won’t fix everything that’s broken with our higher education system. We’ve got to bring down the cost of college. And we need more accountability for how schools spend federal dollars now. So I think there are a lot of things we can do, but I want to be clear about this — the need for comprehensive reform must not blind us to the urgency of addressing the massive debt that’s already crushing our young people.”

On how student loans are treated differently when it comes to refinancing

“Let’s just remember that right now, homeowners have refinanced because interest rates are low. Small businesses have refinanced because interest rates are low. Heck, even municipalities have refinanced their debt while interest rates are low. But students — or former students — don’t have the capacity to do that. There’s nothing in the law to permit that. And so we’ve got now 40 million students out there — former students — who owe student loan debt and they’re paying a huge amount.”

Guest

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

It's HERE AND NOW, and today Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced a bill to tackle the trillion-dollar student loan debt problem. Warren's idea is to allow people with higher interest rates to refinance their loans at lower rates, which would cut income for the federal government, so she's proposing what is called the Buffett rule, which would raise taxes on the rich.

Senator Warren joins us now from Washington. Welcome.

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: Thank you, it's good to be here.

HOBSON: Well how much of a difference do you think it would make for an individual for an individual to be able to refinance a student loan down to, let's say what, 3.86 percent or something?

WARREN: Yeah, the answer is, a lot. And of course it depends on exactly how much debt the students got and how old the loan is because the older they are, for a lot of them, the interest rate's higher. But what this will mean, is for many, many students it will be hundreds of dollars a year, and for many, many more it will be thousands of dollars a year that they will save if the interest rates are refinanced.

HOBSON: And you're making the case that they would then take that money and pump it into the economy by buying things, spending their money.

WARREN: You bet. In fact I'm not just making that case, that's the case the Fed is making, the Treasury is making, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because they're all worried that right now what's happening is that student loan debt is crushing young people. And so they're not doing the things we would expect them to do.

They're not moving out of their parents' homes in as big a numbers, they're not saving up money for down payments, they're not buying homes or cars or starting small businesses or doing any of the things that help move this economy forward.

HOBSON: Although bringing down the interest rate is not going to do anything about the principal. They may still end up with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.

WARREN: Yup, we have to look at this as a step in the right direction. It will help them manage their debt better. It will bring down their payments, but they've got to pay back all of the principal.

HOBSON: Well, what about that, the fact that college costs have gotten so incredibly high, people are now spending in some cases $50,000 a year, $60,000 a year to go to college? Isn't that the root of it? And what can be done about that/

WARREN: Oh look, there's no doubt about it, refinancing won't fix everything that's broken with our higher education system. We've got to bring down the cost of college. And we need more accountability for how schools spend federal dollars now. So I think there are a lot of things we can do, but I want to be clear about this: The need for comprehensive reform must not blind us to the urgency of addressing the massive debt that's already crushing our young people.

HOBSON: But what about the argument that has been made by conservatives, including the former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, that adding more federal aid, which essentially this would do, you're shifting the burden of the cost here, would just allow colleges to jack up their prices even more because the students who are paying for it or think they're paying for it right up front in fact aren't paying for it? They're putting it onto a student loan that's being subsidized even further.

WARREN: Well, let's be real clear. Student loans are not subsidized. What's happening right now is the interest rates are set so high that they are producing literally tens of billions of dollars in profits for the federal government. So what this bill is about is it's about bringing that interest rate down to a rate that at least take some of that profit out of the system.

Let's just remember that right now, homeowners have refinanced because interest rates are low. Small businesses have refinanced because interest rates are low. Heck, even municipalities have refinanced their debt while interest rates are low. But students or former students don't have the capacity to do that. There's nothing in the law to permit that.

HOBSON: Senator, though, if it's just about profit and how much profit the government is going to take, then why do you propose making up the difference by adding an additional tax, the Buffett Rule?

WARREN: Those are the rules right now of Congress, that if you're going to take away a revenue source, you've got to find some way to make it up. And so the proposal in this program is to make it up through the Buffett Rule, to say we're going to close the tax loopholes so that billionaires have to pay at least as much in taxes as their secretaries do.

HOBSON: But that is an idea that was floated and was not embraced by Republicans. Do you think there's any chance that they would embrace it now to help bring down the cost of student loans?

WARREN: Well, I want to start with the fact that the interest rates proposed in this bill are the interest rates that nearly every Republican in the House and the Senate last year voted to have as the right interest rate for new loans for students who borrow money this year. And Republican leaders like Speaker of the House John Boehner embraced these rates for new undergraduate borrowers, calling them consistent with Republican policy proposals.

So they are on record saying these are the right interest rates; we just have to find a way to pay for them. And look, I think this is - pretty much puts it out there in a pretty simple way. We can either subsidize billionaires, or we can help support our students who are trying to get an education, one or the other.

HOBSON: Senator, I just finally want to bring you back to the big number, the trillion dollar number that is the amount of outstanding student loan debt. How big of a problem is that for our economy?

WARREN: It is a hug problem for our economy. It's both destabilizing to individual families, but it's having a measurable economic drag on our economy overall. This is a bill that's good economics. It's also, in my view, good values.

HOBSON: There are some people who say it's not as bit of a - it's not a crisis, that we can have that amount of debt and that people are taking our reasonable amounts of money to pay for student education.

WARREN: Well yeah, that's what people were saying the mortgage loan crisis, too. But make no mistake. This is an emergency. Student loan debt is exploding. From 2004 to 2012, for example, the average student loan balance increased by 70 percent. That's in less than 10 years. the debt keeps going up and going up and going up.

We've got to deal with this. And, you know, look, this is personal for me. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. I went to a commuter college where tuition was $50 a semester and it opened a million dollars for me. I got a fair shot because I grew up in an America that made it a priority to invest in young people.

I believe in that America. That's what this bill is about.

HOBSON: Well, so are we ever going to get to a point where people are guaranteed a college education the way that they're guaranteed a high school education?

WARREN: No. This is about - what we're working on right now are the 40 million people who did exactly what we asked them to do. They went out, they got an education, but they weren't born into families where mom and dad could just write a check and pay the whole ticket up front. They had to finance their education.

This says they've still got to pay back all of the costs of their education. They've still got to pay all those administrative costs on the loans and the cost of borrowing the money and the bad debt losses. It just says the United States government should not make billions and billions and billions of extra dollars from those students who are trying to deal with student loan debt.

HOBSON: Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, thanks so much for joining us.

WARREN: Oh, thank you for having me.

HOBSON: And you can let us know what you think of Senator Warren's proposal at hereandnow.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Rick

    Dumb idea. Just an excuse to raise taxes on the “rich”.

    Why not fix the real problem. .. Colleges charging ridiculous tuition rates. … people majoring on things that have no jobs available. … high unemployment rates…students spending loan money on spring break trips, new cars, etc.

    Thanks for interviewing a Republican to explain why this is a dumb idea. Oh wait, you didn’t. Again.

    • Thomas Johnson

      Name one college campus where I can find students with large outstanding student loans driving new cars. What campus, what state, what city?

      • Rick

        Virtually all of them. Not all loan types are very restrictive on what the money can be used for. But it’s all considered “student loan debt”.

        • Thomas Johnson

          “All of them.” Reminds me of Sarah Palin lying about what publications she reads. :-)

        • Thomas Johnson

          How many college campuses have you actually been to in the past 5 years?

          • Rick

            Seven

          • Thomas Johnson

            And those campuses are … ????

          • Rick

            None of your business

          • Thomas Johnson

            Well THAT is a convincing argument … :-)

      • TJBugGirl

        They may not be driving new cars, but many are spending loan money irresponsibly. They are teenagers, and it isn’t real money to them until it comes time to pay it off. I experienced this first-hand at my small liberal arts college. There were students there from all economic backgrounds. I think it’s more death by a thousand cuts. A new purse here, a few late night food or beer runs there. This is especially prevalent among students who are living full time in a dorm setting and have borrowed the full amount. They don’t have budgets, they just spend the money and hope it lasts till the end of the semester. If it doesn’t, that’s where the credit cards come in.

        • Rick

          I remember a TV commercial, I think it was for Sallie Mae, that ran a few years ago. The daughter was going off to college and her dad went with her to buy a car with a student loan. Whether the car was new or used is not the point. It’s the fact that the money is being spent on something other than tuition or books.

          • Thomas Johnson

            You base your perceptions of reality on what you see in TV commercials? Here’s a tip: if somebody has paid to show you a commercial message, the message is intended to benefit them, not you. Every time I turn on my TV it seems that I see Henry Winkler or Fred Thompson telling me how wonderful a reverse mortgage is. I’m sure they are wonderful… for the lenders who are paying for the ads.

          • Rick

            You’re missing the point. But I’m not going to waste anymore of my time trying to explain it to you.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Nonsense defies explanation.

  • Thomas Johnson

    Senator Warren’s proposal makes perfect sense. There’s really nothing more I need to say.

  • Lois G Rosenfeld

    Senator Warren, Thank you, thank you, thank you for publicly presenting a plan that makes the most sense and brings a correction to what has became increasingly skewed ethics. Move from strength to strength…….

    • Rick

      So you want to be the one paying higher taxes for someone else’s irresponsible debt loan?

      Didn’t think so. Typical. It’s a great idea, as long as someone else pays for it.

      • Thomas Johnson

        Bank CDs are paying about 1 percent. New mortgages are in the 3 to 4 percent range. How do you justify student load interest of 6 or 8 percent when market rates are so much lower? As Sen. Warren pointed out, saddling recent college graduates with heavy interest payments prevents them from spending on cars, houses and consumer goods that are at the core of our economy. The rich do not generally spend their marginal increases in after-tax income. They invest it.

      • S David H de Lorge

        I’ve always been proud to pay my share. What kind of American are you?

        • Thomas Johnson

          Who are you asking “what kind of American are you?”

          • S David H de Lorge

            That guy.

        • Rick

          And by “fair share” you probably mean nothing. Half of the country effectively pays no federal income tax. Curiously, they also seem to support Democrats like Ms. Warren who want to raise taxes on”rich”people to pay for everything.

          • Thomas Johnson

            You seem hung up on the tax part of Sen. Warren’s proposed legislation. Keep in mind, Republicans now demand some kind of revenue increase or spending cut to offset any new federal spending. Raising taxes on the very wealthy in order to lower interest rates on student loans is probably the most sensible option that has any chance of becoming law.

            For what it’s worth, last month I sent a 4-figure check to the U.S. Treasury to pay my income taxes. My investments did well in 2013, and I had to pay taxes on the dividends and gains. I pay my fair share of federal taxes, as well as social security, medicare, state income tax, state and local sales taxes, and real estate taxes. Do governments waste some of this money? Sure they do. Can we expect this Congress to make any progress in reducing waste, or simplifying the federal tax code, or making the code fairer? Not with people like John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell playing their games.

            And don’t forget, we’re still paying for “W”‘s trillion dollar fiasco in Iraq. The only people who made out well in that adventure were Halliburton stock owners. The taxpayers and military personnel got screwed on that one. Did the G.O.P. demand funding of that war, or of W’s prescription drug plan? No, they just put it on the national “credit card.”

          • S David H de Lorge

            I’ve paid income tax, self-employment tax, business license fees, etc., in addition to payroll taxes when appropriate. By this point in her career, it seems very likely that Liz Warren has paid income taxes too, and is arguing for more.

            As to your supposition that I “probably mean nothing,” keep your dismissive snideness to yourself, okay? Stick to the subject, not dimwitted insults.

      • Catherine

        Warren is just pandering. This will never become a law and it shouldn’t. Let’s see…tax the people who took out student loans 25 plus years ago and PAID THEM BACK. The problem is socialism and Elizabeth Warren is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.

        • Thomas Johnson

          Senator Warren is not proposing paying off the student loans with other people’s money. She’s simply saying that there should be a way for people with high interest student loans to refinance them at lower interest rates. All of the principal amounts would still have to be paid off by the borrowers.

          The tax part of the proposal is simply there to offset the reduced revenue that the government would be receiving from the lower interest payments.

          • Catherine

            And why should that fall to people making over $1 million a year? People that often own small businesses that HIRE the college graduates? I paid back my student loans after I was hired by a start-up business made up of people who had paid their student loans. Regardless of the interest rates.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Why? The short answer is because they can afford it.
            Do you really think that Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates, or Larry Ellison, will be seriously harmed if their tax rates go up by one percent? Ellison might have to give up a weekend on his enormous yacht (which costs millions per year just to operate and maintain). So what?

            Would Warren’s poliicy constitute a transfer of wealth from the richest to the less well-off? Sure. But you’d be transferring money from people who save a lot of their income, to people who spend most of their income. The net effect on the economy as a whole would be stimulative. In a recovery, that’s considered a good thing.

          • sbeds

            Oh so they should pay because they can “afford” to?? Who are you or anyone else to decide what they can afford? That’s like telling them what they are allowed to spend on themselves. I hate this kind of crap! It’s their money…if they want to help people they can, if they don’t that’s their choice. No one has the right to legally steal what they earn to pay for someone else’s debt.

          • sbeds

            And that tax part is the part that is wrong!

    • Ralph

      I also agree with Senator Warren. Thank you. When I see what banks are paying for savings or CDs and then see what my daughter pays for student loan interest to the very same institutions – it shows there is something very wrong. We sent billions of dollars to foreign countries to be paid out by the suitcase-full without any accountability – yet we don’t give our future generation of leaders a break on their school loans.

  • TJBugGirl

    I am keenly aware that I dug the hole I’m now attempting to climb out of. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self not to borrow so much money. I am a first generation college graduate. No one in my immediate or extended family had ever graduated from college so we had no clue how to go about financing my education. We were told that college debt was “good debt” that could help you earn more money and that you would easily be able to pay it back. What a crock! I was young and stupid. If I had it to do over again, I would have gone to a less expensive school and gotten a job to make it through college with little or no debt. It would have been harder, but well worth it to be free of the financial burden that college debt brings. We need a shift in how we pay for college. It’s time to stop kidding ourselves that any debt is a good thing! College students need to be told ahead of time about what $70,000 worth of debt will do to them at ages 30, 40, and 50, because that is how long they will be paying it off!

    • Thomas Johnson

      Unfortunately, many (most?) people graduate high school without ever having had a course in personal finance. Consequently, they don’t really understand how loans work (student loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc). Nor do they learn about managing IRA or 401K accounts. The sad fact that many Americans over 55 are not financially ready to retire in their mid sixties is further evidence that we don’t teach enough about finance. In a free market economy where you’re expected to be self-reliant, this is a BIG problem.

  • Mathias

    My belief is that the increase in college loan debt, from 2004-2014, is a direct result of the mortgage/housing bubble in 2005. Speaking from experience, a lot more students’ parents had to declare bankruptcy thus not allowing them to consign for a loan or take one on for their children. I had to declare myself independent, refill out my FAFSA and apply for loans with no income. I know a lot of other students and graduates in the same situation. My parents are just now building their credit back as my loans are coming due.

    • lordblazer

      2004 congress passed a bill that prohibited student loans to be removed through bankruptcy.

  • Pete

    Absurd to quote GOP fool of Virtues Bill Bennett who lost 8 million in slot machines. Can’t you ask an intelligent question instead?

  • S David H de Lorge

    Great story.

    Me too, regarding the low-cost state school to start. A more productive life, contributing more to the economy, the society, the country, as an outcome. Otherwise would have been frustrated and of limited contribution.

  • itasara

    Two of my children are drowning in student loan debt. They are trying to make a living. One of them is home living with his parents. Other one is so stressed out she cannot do her job full-time. Please do something about the student loan debt. The government should not be making money on our students.

    • it_disqus

      You should have taught your children that the borrower is a slave to the lender and they would be better off.

      • itasara

        They are adults it was their decision. Still I do not believe the government should profit from students will will hopefully bring forward our economy but if they can’t pay back these expensive loans it is hard to contribute. They should have the right of anyone to renegotiate loans to a lower rate, otherwise they are being taken advantage of. Who are you anyway to give out advice vague as it is?

        • it_disqus

          You are the one who said your kids are drowning in debt. Who’s fault is that except for them and the people who taught them they have a “right” to change the terms of the deal they signed after the fact? Who I am? I am the tax payer you are wanting to pass your children’s bad decision onto.

  • it_disqus

    I never listened to Jeremy when he was back on Marketplace Money and this interview makes me so glad I didn’t waste the time. The Senator compares the bubble in housing caused by the government to the current high prices in education and it is just allowed to pass? It makes me ask again, who is Jeremy related to that got him this job?

    • Thomas Johnson

      The bubble in housing was largely caused by lenders who extended credit to people who could not afford to pay back their loans. These lenders packaged the shakey loans into collateralized debt obligations and sold the CDOs as fast as they could in order to shift the risk to somebody else. This was not the government’s doing. You might want to read up on CDOs. The game of musical chairs / hot potato ended when the market for CDOs collapsed, and firms like AIG were on the hook for far more than they were able to pay out.

      • it_disqus

        They were government backed loans and that is the only reason “lenders who extended credit to people who could not afford to pay back their loans” happened. Those with money don’t lend it unless they know they will be paid back. The risk you spoke of was passed to the tax payer to make politicians feel good about giving everyone a house. You might need to read up on your economics. That is 101.

        • Thomas Johnson

          The CDOs freed the lenders from worrying about being paid back. That was the whole point of the CDOs. Do you even know what a CDO is? Like I wrote above, you might want to read up on CDOs and their role in the mortgage crisis. They helped banks avoid worrying about whether the borrower could pay back the loans, because that became somebody else’s problem.

          Many CDOs wound up in banks (not in the hands of a government agency), including banks in Europe.

          • it_disqus

            Yes, the bundling of bad debts hurt those who bought those bad debts. Those debts were caused by government backed loans for housing. Money was poured in so the price went up for everyone (demand), then some could not afford their payments and thus there became to many houses on the market (supply). Bubble pops. What does the bundling of bad debts have to do with the glut in housing caused by government intervention?

          • S David H de Lorge

            What accounted for historic gluts and bubbles before there was any govt intervention?

          • it_disqus

            When was that?

          • S David H de Lorge

            Start with tulip bulbs. Just for the sake of discussion.

          • it_disqus

            Yeah that was a crazy one, but those looking to put a roof over their heads and the average working man had no concern for that one.

          • S David H de Lorge

            And as to your point about government?

          • it_disqus

            That bubble was purely speculative. We still have those today. There is a difference between when citizens chose to buy something crazy (ie. furby) and when the gigantic power of the US government sets policies that have enormous effect on everyone. I am not for zero involvement by the government, but when people don’t acknowledge the cause and effect I get worried. There is a cost to providing housing and education to the poor. Yes, we as a society may have to pay them, but we must look at the true effects on everyone. Tax the rich is a myth. There are cost to everyone.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Gotcha. Well said. In essence I agree, except that the evidence supports the effectiveness of a progressive income tax

            Thank you.

          • Thomas Johnson

            “Tax the rich is a myth.” Could you please explain what you mean by that? The tax rates on high income individuals used to be much higher than they are now. Even so, the U.S. economy overall did well (say, from 1945 through 1980). Tax rates at the top began dropping around the time Reagan took office. As to “acknowledge cause and effect” … take a look at the size of the national debt when Reagan took office and when he moved out of the White House. The debt more than doubled during his two terms in office.

          • it_disqus

            First, the income tax was originally crated as a tax on the rich to pay for the war. It was never intended to come down to the working class. This tax too will trickle down. History speaks to that one. Second there are other consequences to taking money from one and giving to another that can effect someone who is neither. Like the price of housing and college going up.

          • Thomas Johnson

            What did the government have to do with CDOs (aside from failing to regulate the CDO market)? It looks to me like you still do not understand CDOs nor their role in the subprime mortgage crisis. There’s a fairly good summary of CDOs that I just skimmed through at Wikipedia (subject is Collateralized_debt_obligation). I can lead you to knowledge, but I can’t make you think.

          • it_disqus

            Maybe I am ignorant. Quit using acronyms and tell me what caused lenders to give sub-prime loans?

          • Thomas Johnson

            As I posted above, CDO stands for collateralized debt obligation. What you’re asking me to tell you is all in the Wikipedia article that I also mentioned above. It’s a complicated issue, but has been well described in numerous articles and on various radio programs.

            Ignorance is curable — you just have to absorb the information. I’m ignorant of how to do brain surgery, and I wouldn’t expect to operate on anyone after reading a one-paragraph summary. Sometimes you just have to do the reading.

          • it_disqus

            I wrote a one sentence question and you gave a two paragraph comment that said “Google it.” Thanks for the discussion.

          • Thomas Johnson

            The word “Google” appears just once in this discussion — in your post. Do you know the difference between Google and Wikipedia? I didn’t post the full URL here because discussion boards tend to reject complete URLs. So for the last time: Go to Wikipedia.org (not Google) and look for their article on

            Collateralized_debt_obligation.

            About the shortest answer I can give you is that lenders made bad loans because they could package them (as CDOs) and sell the bad loans to somebody else. In that way, they made the risk somebody else’s problem. Happy now?

          • it_disqus

            Oh, I see. You get all your opinions from Wikipedia and NPR not Google. Thanks.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Like I said, the Wikipedia article cites 89 references, which I believe are all accessible by way of links at the end of the article. I’m guessing that you won’t bother to check out all 89 of them, but you might look at some that you consider to be from reputable sources.

            The CDO story is too big, and too well publicized, for any falsehoods in reporting to have gone unchallenged for long. The story has been out there long enough (several years now) that the arguments are pretty much over. Don’t forget that it was Warren Buffet who said, ” In my view,
            derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.” CDOs were a particularly toxic type of derivative (financial instruments that are derived from other instruments). Not all derivatives are bad, of course. Simple puts and calls are perfectly sensible as long as they are traded by sensible people.

            Feel free to post your own sources of information on the sub-prime mortgage mess.

          • it_disqus

            Fannie and Freddie and the FED set all the standards for the banking industry. Continue to tell yourself that it was the selfish bankers fault. I think there is one in jail now for it. That is because they were following the law laid down.

          • ocdhickson

            Ignorance might be curable but I’m guessing your arrogance will be with you for life.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Do you equate being informed with being arrogant?

          • ocdhickson

            No, arrogance is a matter of your condescending tone.

          • Guest

            My comment about your sources was removed. It must have offended them.

          • Rachel Rohr, Here & Now

            Hi there, I’m the web producer for Here & Now. Your comment was not removed. Best, RR

          • Pastor Michael

            Are you in need of financial help and you do not know who to trust or where to go?contact us today for more information on how to get your dream loan,contact us via for more info.
            Pastor Michael.
            By grace ye are saved Eph.2:5
            pastormichaelloanhouse@yahoo.com

    • S David H de Lorge

      Don’t listen, don’t hear. Don’t hear, don’t apply critical thinking. Don’t think critically, think what you’re told.

      • it_disqus

        You have that as a tattoo?

        • S David H de Lorge

          I’m thinking about it. Now. Thanks.

  • KC

    The student loan crisis problem stems from more than the recent rise in college costs. My situation is a good example. I am now 45 yrs old and fully employed; I have been paying on my student loans since the late 1990s. I cringe every time I look at the 8% + interest rate on my student loans, particularly when I just refinanced my home at under 4% and my emergency savings account gains practically nothing in interest. A refi of my student loans would allow me to save $ for my children who are approaching college age. At the rate I am going I will be struggling to pay of my student loans and put them through college at the same time.

  • Kevin

    The students qualify for Stafford loans, but not near enough to pay the tuition and board. We parents are on the hook for the bulk of the debt in the form of PLUS (parent) Loans. As a middle class intact family, we were offered no grants or free college money. The loan money is disbursed directly to the school for qualified expenses. We now pay over $700 per month for one graduate and one student who is halfway through. So we drive old cars, delay large purchases and vacations and our graduate lives at home so she can pay her loan expenses while working.

  • it_disqus

    My Alma-mater, which is a state college, just raised fees by 4% and built a mufti-million dollar building for foreign student education.

  • Laura

    Such a shame that those who borrow funds to get education are branded as irresponsible. For the past 3 years I have very responsibly paid $500 toward student loans every month — I have a well-paying job, an older car, and 2 roommates to cut costs. Even still, it will take 2 more years to pay down interest and start paying on the $70k principal. I would LOVE to take a vacation, buy a new car, or explore a mortgage but I’m too responsible and instead divert extra funds to my 401k account. Simple math will show that by cutting my interest rate in half, I would have extra money to spend on consumer goods or real estate. It’s clear that high interest rates cement those who borrow money into an indebted (indentured?!) life.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Indentured. Great find of phrasing.

  • Roeva

    I love Senator Warren’s idea. I purposely turned down schools that I really wanted to attend (Barnard and Smith for example) to go to a state school and have my undergraduate education paid for. I consider myself somewhat privileged as my family helped to cover the cost of application fees (sometimes $70 a pop) and books/supplies (thank you family). I received scholarships for tuition and worked to cover all my living expenses. I was fortunate in that I completed my undergraduate education without any debt (sounds like a fairy tale). Unfortunately, by the end of professional school (at a state school mind you), I was $200,000 in debt with a fixed interest rate of 6.8%. Before anyone accuses me of being a irresponsible spender (not that it’s anyone else’s business, but I’m quite frugal), or not getting grants or scholarships (I received several), or not working (not always feasible in professional school), please consider the help you may have had in your life to get where you are. And if you’re unhappy about where you are in life, consider how your life may have been different if you had received help (in addition to your own hard work) in achieving your dreams. I appreciate Senator Warren’s idea to not exploit students for profit. If her idea can become action and help me, I too can pay it forward to the hard-working folks trying to achieve their dreams.

  • Dan

    I find it refreshing that Senator Warren is willing to introduce this bill. The is the type of leadership that we need at all levels of government. This is an incredibly sensible way to help those students who are struggling to create wealth for themselves under the burden of student loan debt. I myself, pay more than 25% of my take home pay towards my student loan debt each month. I was not irresponsible with my loans, I took out just enough for tuition, fees, books, etc. I held two jobs while finishing my degree to pay for all of life’s other necessities. Lowering my interest rate would help me save more to buy a house, pay off my loans faster, and just be more secure financially. Thank you Senator Warren!

  • Arkuy The Great

    Warren is completely wrong here. The problem with education is that tuitions are excessively high. Lopping 3% off loan interest is not going to fix that problem; it is the equivalent of claiming a haircut will help solve being overweight. Over the past few decades simply making more loan options available has induced colleges and universities to hike their tuitions and fees to “capture” as much of the new money as possible. Meanwhile, a student burdened with six figures of debt from obtaining a MSW will never be able to pay it off with a social worker’s salary. And don’t get started on those who come away with degrees in transgendered-minority-women’s studies or similar.

    Far from providing solutions Warren proposes further greasing the skids on our ride to academic disaster.

    • Harry

      This is not an attempt to address the rising cost of tuition, it’s an attempt to stimulate the economy. If they could find a way to fund it without a tax increase (perhaps SPENDING cuts) it seems like a no brainer.

  • Mike

    Ms. Warren went to a small commuter college. Maybe she is talking about “commuting” her whiteness to native american to attend that small college Harvard.

    • itasara

      I got my degree from a very large college. At the time as a nursing student and instate resident at the time my work in the hospital allowed me to pay $50 a semester tuition!! Of course that deal was eliminated shortly after I graduated.

  • emma852

    my Aunty Grace got a nearly new blue Kia by
    working part time from the internet. look at this now C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Gladys

    This is awesome! I feel like my student debt only grows as I pay….

  • Cheryl

    I would love to see a national women’s history museum. Of course Sarah Palin should be included; those that do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

  • Concerned Parent

    Hey Folks, the legislation affects people making over a million dollars or more per year. In other words, if you make more than $19,230.00 per week you would have to pay some additional taxes. I don’t know those of you who are following this proposed legislation, but if I made that kind of money, I don’t think I would miss a little less of it. $3846.00/day is the approximate income of a millionaire. Anyway you look at it, that’s more than enough money needed to live a comfortable life. And if a little of that goes to assist those trying to educate themselves to make this world a better place, isn’t that an important contribution to society?

  • sbeds

    What they don’t mention here is that her plan to pay for “refinancing” is to increase taxes!!

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 27 Comment

Veteran Honored, But Struggles To Keep Business Open

Former Marine Matt Victoriano is being recognized as a "Champion of Change" at the White House.

August 27 40 Comments

In Defense Of Schlock Music: Why We Love/Hate It

Music critic Jody Rosen defends the kind of over-the-top, sentimental songs that Journey, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and Prince made famous.

August 26 8 Comments

It’s Not Business As Usual In Ferguson, Missouri

From barber shops to bike shops, WBUR's Deborah Becker looks at what the protests have meant for businesses.

August 26 95 Comments

A Fan Says No To Football

Steve Almond writes, "our allegiance to football legitimizes and ever fosters within us a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and even homophobia."