He was at OSU Cascades to meet with a handful of students about how he's trying to pass legislation to allow them to refinance their college loans, just like car or home loans.
"And this is a big deal in Oregon because we have 500-thousand people with student loans and the vast bulk of them have intrest rates higher than the current rate. If they could re-finance them, their paymetns would be lower and it would be much more likely to make payments and not defalt and certainly there would be more money at the end of the month after they pay their loans."
Senator Merkley heard from OSU Cascades student Christina Jackson who is sturggling to stay in school financially.
"Christina Jackson: I had $2700 for classes and I pay $1200 in rent a month and after I paid COCC I had $2200. So the only hours I have to sacrifice are my sleeping hours. I have a child that is severely disabled, mentally ill (starts crying). Senator Merkley: So you're between a rock and a hard place. Christina Jackson: I don't want to quit, but I might to go to two thirds time. I don't want to quit."
Senator Merkley wants to pass legislation that would allow students to refinance student loans like car or home laons, but the bill has been filibustered in the past. He hopes to revisit the legislation after the midterm elections in November.