Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), seen here at the University of Florida, was back at the school to push for student loan reform. 

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) spent Tuesday, August 29th, speaking with students at the University of Florida about their student loan debt and his proposed legislation, according to The Gainesville Sun.

Senator Nelson himself attended the University of Florida, but transferred after a time. Yesterday at one of UF’s education buildings, Nelson spoke to roughly a dozen students from UF and Santa Fe College about what they have had to deal with when it comes to student loans.

He also took the time to champion his proposed legislation, which was met with much approval from the students that took the time to hear him speak. On July 10th, Senator Nelson proposed a legislative bill that would cap the interest rates on undergraduate student loans at 4 percent. The current cap sits at 4.45 percent.

Nelson filed his bill just days after the federal student loan interest rate range was increased to the current range of 3.76 percent and 4.45 percent. Under Nelson’s proposed law, student loan borrowers that are currently dealing with an interest rate above 4 percent will be able to refinance their student loans in order to receive an interest rate lower than 4 percent. Such a process is currently illegal in the U.S.

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In addition to capping the interest rate, Nelson’s legislation would also eliminate the “loan origination fees” that students are charged to process their student loans. Today, the fee is usually taken out of a student’s original loan amount before they even receive it.

According to Nelson, the typical undergraduate student deals with $24,000 in student loan debt, but he has spoken to some student debtors that owe up to $50,000 and graduate students that owe more than $100,000 in student loans.

Senator Nelson is not far off in his estimation of how much student loan debt the average student takes on. According to The Student Loan Report, the average borrower owes $27,857 in student loan debt.

One student in attendance asked Nelson where his bill would create cuts. The U.S. Senator responded by saying there would not be a need for cuts as long as the government is on a path that can self-sustain itself.

“The big objection is that it’s going to cost, and my argument is going to be it’s going to cost us if we don’t have an educated population,” Nelson said.

Image Copyright © Gavin Baker