46 Members of Congress Still Have Student Loan Debt
If you’re one of the many college students currently racking up debt in the name of education, you might take some solace in knowing that you’re in good company. Well, “good” may not be the right word, but hey, it’s company: the current session of the 113th Congress boasts more representatives still paying off student loan debt than ever before.
An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, which studied the financial disclosure forms of numerous members of the legislative body for the 2011 fiscal year, found that 22 Democrats and 24 Republicans are not only paying back student loans, but the total amount owed by these 46 members is between $1.8 million and $4.3 million. As members of Congress are not required to report exact debt amounts, and instead report ranges, the precise figure is unknown.
For some, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the debt come from co-signing the loans of their children, while others lawmakers have claimed that the debt has been repaid since 2011, when the financial information was initially reported.
In addition to having more lawmakers with student debt in total, this congressional session also has more members with student loan debt who happen to sit on education committees, such as Sen. Warren and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn). Four Republican members of the House subcommittee on higher education are also drawing criticism for having student loan debt despite their parties opposition to federal student loan programs in the 2012 General Election.
While having something in common with members of congress may sound abhorrent to most college students, this stark increase in the number of student loan recipients could come in handy this summer, when Congress is set to revisit last year’s student loan interest rate battle, as the one-year extension of the 3.4 percent rate as opposed to the 6.8 percent rate that is set to expire on June 30th. On Feb 11th, Congressional Republicans issued a letter asking the president to work towards a “long-term solution to the student loan interest rate issue.”