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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Education and Student Loans

As a Member of Congress, a key part of my job is to ensure that education remains a top priority in Washington, DC. I will continue to do everything in my power to help our children succeed. While those of all political stripes agree that improvements to the law are needed to better serve and educate students, the grim reality is that not all children receive the same opportunities.

The law must ensure that all children, especially those with the greatest needs, have access to an education that prepares them to succeed in the 21st century. Research has shown that reducing crowded classrooms and funding programs like Head Start leads to student success. Our local school systems must be strengthened and must be equipped with the resources they need to provide the highest quality education. This guarantee of quality education must be extended to all children, regardless of zip code. More importantly, these opportunities must be extended to children with disabilities, children who are learning English, and vulnerable migrant students. There is a record level of students and we must build and improve educational facilities that can meet the needs of all of them.  This means our nation must invest significant resources in school construction and modernization.. I believe it is essential for the state of Illinois and school districts nationwide to accommodate the demands of an increasingly diverse student enrollment in our nation's public schools. Support should not only be directed to our students, but to the teachers in the classrooms as well.

The next great crisis our nation must face is student debt. Student loans have become the norm in order for millennials to obtain their degrees. Soaring college costs and the crisis of taking out loans with high interest rates cripple our youth. College graduates are struggling to pay massive loans and delaying major investments- including buying a home, having a wedding, starting a business and saving for retirement. The total amount of student loan debt now exceeds $1.3 trillion dollars, a sum larger than credit card and auto debt combined. Over 43 million Americans currently face these loans and the country must take proactive measures to ensure that graduates can avoid crippling student debt.

No student, regardless of economic status, should be denied the opportunity to go to college. In September of 2007, I was proud to vote in favor of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. This critical legislation has made strides to make college more affordable for working class families and cut soaring interest rates on federal student loans. More recently during this 114th Congress, I have cosponsored the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act (H.R. 1434). This critical legislation is estimated to allow 25 million loan borrowers to refinance their current student loans at lower rates. The ability to refinance loans is crucial for college graduates, allowing these loans to be refinanced would save them thousands of dollars.

Rest assured that I will continue to support our teachers and students day in and day out in Washington. As your representative, I will continue to support legislation that puts students and education above all. I remain committed to education access as the true safeguard of future generations.