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BEND, OR -- Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) visited a class of juniors and seniors at Mt. View High School on Friday, sharing thoughts and fielding questions about the high cost of higher education and repayment of college loans. The discussion in the Government class focused on his newly introduced bill called “The Afford Act.”

 

Merkley explains, “Mechanically the way the Afford Act works, is it says the primary option for loan repayment you can choose to have your repayment be no more than 10% of your disposable income. And thereby, if your income is high you pay off your student loan very, very quickly but if it’s low you will not be crushed by that monthly payment.”

 

“I’ve been proposing that we should be able to issue loans at the same interest rate that the big banks get when they borrow money from the federal government. That would be as much lower rate for students. But I also believe we should refinance loans to give students that lower, and students who have graduated, that lower interest rate," Merkley tells KBND. 

 

Merkley’s Afford Act would also forgive college debt left after 20 years. The Oregon Democrat is now seeking a Republican co-sponsor for the bill.

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