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Hirono, Schatz Support Bill to Lower Student Loan Interest

Hawaii’s US senators last week joined a coalition working to reduce interest rates on outstanding student loans.

Nationwide, some 38 million Americans are paying off student loans which carry interest rates of 6.8% or higher.

While a law passed last year allows students taking out new loans before July to pay a rate of 3.86%, those with outstanding student loans are not allowed to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates.

As a result, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill that would allow them to refinance the loans at a lower rate.

Hawaii Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz are among the 23 co-sponsors of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, all of whom are Democrats.

“With the rise of college costs over the last two decades, students have increasingly had to rely on federal student loans,” Hirono said in a statement.

She noted that in Hawaii, the average student loan debt is $23,000.

Last year, more than 20,000 Hawaii college students last year took out federal loans to help pay for school.

“This debt can make it extremely difficult for individuals and families to build a future beyond school, including owning a home, starting a business and pursuing their dreams,” Hirono said.

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