New York ranked 27 in new data concerning student loan debt

Students at colleges across Long Island will graduate in the spring of 2015 with an estimated $25,000 in student loan debt, according to The Project on Student Debt’s data on average college student loan debt in New York.

New York ranks number 27 in the United States for average student loan debt. Delaware has the highest average, with students in the class of 2012 owing over $33,000, while New Mexico has the lowest average of about $18,000.

In New York state, elected officials are working towards implementing an increase in state grants for students to eventually lower their needs for student loans. In June of 2014, the state senate of New York approved a bill sponsored by Long Island’s Senator Kenneth LaValle that will increase the NYS Tuition Assistance Program award from $5,165 to $6,470 to take into effect in the fall of 2015.

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Senator LaValle also sponsored the New York Student Affordable Refinancing for Tomorrow Program (New START), a bill that will allow students to convert up to $35,000 of their private student loan debt into a low-interest loan that would be managed by the state of New York.

However the situation is dire for other states in the country. In a statement, Senator Christopher Coons, (D-Del) said the fact that students graduating college in Delaware are owing more than $33,000 in loan debt was a “hostage” situation. In June of this year, Republicans voted against Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Ma) bill to allow students to refinance their loan at a lower rate, claiming that the bill wouldn’t be of much help anyway.

“The Senate Democrats’ bill isn’t really about students at all,” said Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) in an AP article. “It’s really all about Senate Democrats. They want an issue to campaign on to save their own hides this November.” Kentucky’s average student loan debt is significantly lower than Delaware’s, coming in at around $22,000.

Alleviating student loan debt would allow recent grads to put their money back into the economy. As Senator LaValle said in June, “If you are paying off your student loans from your salary at your entry-level job, you’re not out there buying a house. You’re not buying a car, you aren’t starting a family. It really has a profound effect on our economy.”

 

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