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New House bill could help alleviate student loan debt

H.R. 4170 is a bill that, if passed, will forgive student loan debt for millions of hardworking Americans through a 10/10 program.

 Representative Hansen Clarke of Michigan introduced H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, in the House of Representatives on March 8.

 “This bill provides that if a student loan borrower makes payments equal to 10-percent of their discretionary income for 10 years the balance of their federal student loans will be forgiven,” Clarke said, in a Youtube video explaining the bill.

 Citizens who have already been making payments for their student loans over the past decade will be credited toward meeting the requirement for forgiveness.

 “By cutting this debt this frees up their money to invest on their own,” Clarke said. “That will create new jobs throughout this country.”

 The key objective of this bill is to speed up economy recovery, increase purchasing power, create new job opportunities and make student loan repayments fair so that more citizens will acquire a higher education.

 Statistics by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher for FinAid, states on the FinAid website that federal student loan debt outstanding reached approximately $665-billion and private student loan debt reached approximately  $168-billion in June 2010, for a total student loan debt outstanding of $833-billion.

 Total student loan debt is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second. The debt will reach $1-trillion by May 8.

 H.R. 4170 will allow existing borrowers, whose educational loan debt exceeds their income, to convert their private loan debt into Federal Direct Loans which can be enrolled in the 10/10 program.

 It will ensure low interest rates on federal student loans.

H.R. 4170 will also reward graduates for entering public service professions and provide incentives for medical professionals to work in underserved communities which would reduce the Public Service Loan Forgiveness requirement from 10 years to five.

 Some students are reluctant about how the bill will benefit graduates.

 “I feel like there has to be a catch,” Taylor Anastasio, a freshman undecided major, said. “People who have a higher income would probably benefit more from the 10/10 program.”

 Others feel like the bill is a great opportunity to get student loans paid off more quickly.

 “I’d take advantage of the whole situation,” Shelby Blair, a freshman mass communications major, said. “Having my student loans paid off within 10 years is pretty good.”

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