Transcript: Sen. Bob Corker on private student loans

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee hearing on July 24, 2012

Transcript of opening statement by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on private student loans:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) SOURCE: Banking.Senate.gov

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to the witnesses who are here.

“I’m glad we’re here today to talk about the private student loan market. But to me, it’s more important that we look at the entire picture.

“We’ve been reading in the news lately that student borrowers have nearly $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

“But we need to remember, as the Chairman just mentioned, only 7% of those loans are private student loans and the other 93% are loans backed by the taxpayer.

“I think all of us know the real problem we need to consider – the rising cost of college tuition and the amount of federal student loans students are borrowing.

“I might add that on the one hand the federal government seems to want to help solve this problem, and on the other hand continues to mandate to states things like Medicaid. In our own state, for every percentage that we spend more on Medicaid, we spend less on higher education and that’s the real driver of why students are borrowing so much money in our own state.

“The federal government recently took over the federal loan program as many of us know, and I’m unconvinced that change is in any way benefiting students or taxpayers.

“There are income forgiveness programs on the federal loan side, where borrowers don’t have to pay back the full [amount] of the loan they borrowed, sticking the taxpayer with the unpaid burden.

“So I think it’s important for us to understand the whole picture and not just focus on a tiny fraction of the marketplace.

“And I’m pleased that Sallie Mae is here today to talk about the progress that they have made in encouraging students to borrow more responsibly. And I’ll look forward to the testimonies of the witnesses today.”

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