Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement commending President Obama for his decision to expand an alternative repayment program for federal student loans that limits monthly payments to ten percent of the borrower’s discretionary income. His executive order instructs the U.S. Department of Education to extend this program to students who borrowed before October 2007 or those who have not borrowed since October 2011. As a result, an estimated five million additional borrowers will have access to the program.
“Our young men and young women need to have the opportunity to succeed after graduation from college or a training program,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who recently co-sponsored a bill that would allow borrowers to refinance their student loans, a choice already available to borrowers with other types of loans. “The majority of college students cannot complete their education without access to loans, and many graduates depart from college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt (or more in some instances). President Obama understands, as I understand, that we cannot build the foundation for real prosperity when millions of Americans have high debts that prevent the purchase of a car or a home or investments for retirement.”
Total student loan debt in the United States has increased to about $1.2 trillion today from less than $400 million in 2005.
U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.