Student-Debt Relief a Personal Issue for Many Lawmakers

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock
April 8, 2019

By Justin Chermol

Finding a way to ease the $1.5 trillion student-debt burden on nearly 45 million Americans is a personal priority for Representative Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and the mother of two recent college graduates.

"Not only do I have a son, who's 26, who's just in law school, but a daughter who just graduated from college," Wild said in a recent interview with Cheddar. "So the student loan issue, as much as the healthcare issue, is one that I care deeply about."

Wild isn't the only member of Congress dealing with this issue personally. She cited a recent report that 68 members of Congress or members of their family are contending with about $2.5 million of student debt. Perhaps their personal experiences will spark lawmakers into action.

"We've gotta look at this from many different angles, and we've gotta talk about students being able to re-finance their student loan debt, it's got to be based on their income when they get out of school," Wild said. "We've gotta be able to restructure their debt, and their interest rates, to make sure that they are able to manage these loans."

Student debt outpaces credit card debt and is second only to mortgage debt in the United States, where it weighs heavy on the economy. The Federal Reserve found that the rise in student debt was hurting home ownership, which fell 9 percent among people age 24-32 from 2005 to 2014.

"It is going to have a long term effect on our economy because people either aren't going to pursue the education that affords them better jobs going forward, or they will, and they will enter the workforce saddled with debt," Wild said, noting that heavy debts makes it difficult for graduates to "buy consumer goods, homes, all the things that keep our economy growing."

For full interview click here.