Saturday, February 10, 2007

This And That

* Hillary is drawing record crowds in New Hampshire.

* Clinton introduces the "Student Borrower Bill of Rights"

"There are too many students in New York State and across the country that are overly burdened with loan payments or treated unfairly as they repay student loans. This bill makes it easier for students to repay their loans by putting in place a basic set of rights, including the right to borrow without exploitation and the right to real loan choices," said Senator Clinton.

Students are borrowing now more than ever to pay for higher education. Today two-thirds of college graduates face loan repayments. At the same time, college costs continue to grow and need-based grant aid remains idle. Over the past decade, the average debt burden for college graduates has increased 58 percent, after accounting for inflation. And today, the average borrower graduating from a public four- year institution owes $15,500, while one in ten students owe $33,000 or more. The Student Borrower Bill of Rights will make it easier for students to repay loans by giving borrowers rights that are enforceable. Often, too many students see their costs go up after they think they've already budgeted for what they can pay. The bill provides borrowers the right to fair, monthly payments that do not exceed a certain percentage of their incomes as well as fair interest rates and fees.

When student loans are burdensome, borrowers may avoid important but low-paying professions, such as public health workers, social workers, and teachers. The burden of student loans also prevents college graduates from pursuing a higher degree. According to studies by the Nellie Mae Corporation, 40 percent of college graduates who do not go to graduate school, blame student loan debt. The prospect that student loans will be a great burden may also prevent successful high school students from going to college. Twenty percent of low-income high school graduates qualified for college, do not go to college. Senator Clinton has worked tirelessly to provide accessible and affordable education to all students. During the 109th Congress, two provisions from the Student Borrower Bill of Rights were enacted into law. These provisions enable borrowers to choose lenders with acceptable income-sensitive repayment terms when consolidating student loans.

* Hillary on Big Eddie Schultz's show.

* A great floor speech Iraq. It's pretty long, but it's important.

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