About 11.5% of student loan holders in the city -- and 15.7% in the Bronx -- are more than 90 days delinquent on paying their debt.
And student loans are a burden on the entire econony, as grads are trying to pay them off rather than buying homes, cars, consumer goods or starting businesses.
That's why Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is among the co-sponsors of a new bill, "The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act," which would permit holders of undergraduate loans to refinance their loans for 3.86% -- the current rate for undergraduate loans. People with graduate school debt could refinance at 5.41%.
"We shouldn't be making money off the backs of students. It's an ethical issue," that disproportionately impacts New York's poor and people of color, Gillibrand said in a conference call Tuesday.
There are 911,600 people carrying student loans in New York City and the average graduate in New York state carries $26,000 in federal debt. Student loans should be able to be refinanced at lower rates just as home mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt are refiled, she continued.
But Gillibrand, pleading for people to voice their support to their representatives, admitted that the legislation faces steep opposition. "I worked really hard to get a Republican co-sponsor, but I wasn't able to secure one," said Gillibrand, a Democrat.