//Student Loan News: Presidential Hopefuls Talk Student Debt

Student Loan News: Presidential Hopefuls Talk Student Debt

Welcome to Student Loan News, a weekly summary of developments and events affecting college debt in the U.S. Join us each Friday for a look at goings-on that could impact your own student loan situation.

Update: President Trump announced a deal Friday to end the partial government shutdown for at least three weeks — good news for those furloughed federal workers mentioned below in this week’s Student Loan News.

Student debt in focus as presidential race looms on distant horizon

While it’s still a little over a year before the Iowa caucuses kick off the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, some of the early entrants are already hitting the stump. And the student debt crisis is among the top topics they’re addressing.

First on the mic this past week was U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who spoke Saturday in Ames, Iowa, about some of the issues she wants to tackle, including the cost of college.

“We have to make access to college, and access to higher education, something that is a real right,” the New York senator said. She also referenced the Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act, a bill she introduced that would have the federal government offer refinancing at a fixed 4% for any student loans above that interest rate. Currently, student loans can only be refinanced through private lenders.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris kicked off her presidential bid with a question-and-answer session at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The California senator said the government needs “to have a commitment around what we need to do around debt-free college and ‘College for All,’” as well as the possibility of federal student loan refinancing.

Harris also touted her work as California attorney general policing predatory practices at for-profit colleges, saying more must be done to protect students.

How it affects YOU: If student debt impacts your life, make sure it impacts your voting, too. As the presidential primaries get closer, Student Loan Hero will be looking at the candidates and their positions on college costs and student loans. In the meantime, you can check out the campaign websites that are starting to pop up and see what these aspiring presidents have to say about the issue.

Student loans borrowers leaving rural America

Federal Reserve data suggest that you’re much more likely to leave your home in rural or small-town America if you have student loans — and the more student debt you have, the greater the chance you’ll move to a big city.

The trend has led to a widening achieve gap: While the percentage of college grads in cities was 5 points higher than in rural areas in 1970, that difference had ballooned to 14 points by 2016, CBS News cites the Fed as saying.

This, the report says, creates a vicious cycle, since as “fewer college-educated young people remain in rural locations, those regions become less attractive to other young grads.”

How it affects YOU: Local governments around the country seem aware of this problem, with some communities — such as Michigan’s St. Clair County and the Ohio town of Hamilton — offering money to eligible college graduates willing to live there. If this intrigues you, keep an eye out for similar opportunities, and check out our database of student loan repayment assistance programs across the U.S.

Also in the news …

  • Federal student loan servicing giant Navient is pushing back on allegations made in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ongoing lawsuit against it, the The Washington Times reports. Among Navient’s arguments were that “more than five years after launching its investigation, the CFPB has not … identified a single borrower who supports its allegations of ‘steering’” students to unhelpful financial options.
  • Last week, we reported on efforts to help furloughed government workers struggling with their student loan payments. With the shutdown dragging on, more groups are stepping up to help, including several Maryland colleges, according to NPR.

News can be useful, but if you want some deeper advice, take a moment to sign up for the Student Loan Hero weekly digest email and get valuable financial knowledge sent straight to your inbox … for free!

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!

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