WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) released a bipartisan poll that finds voters across the country overwhelmingly support policies that allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans (91% in favor), enroll into affordable payment options based on income (90% in favor), and have their debt forgiven after 10 years of payments if they work in qualifying public service jobs or non-profit organizations (70% in favor). The poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, and it was part of a larger bipartisan poll released in July that favors strong consumer protection against predatory payday lenders and support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
"It's clear that the public supports making student loans affordable to every borrower, especially those who work in public service—like firefighters and first responders," said CRL Senior Researcher Robin Howarth. "Refinancing student loans and having affordable payment options, like income based driven plans, help keep borrowers afloat and gives them the opportunity to make long term plans, like buying a house, saving for retirement, or starting a family. It's especially heartening to see broad public support for public service student loan forgiveness—a program that's been under threat by the U.S. Department of Education."
"We know more and more about the negative impact of the high levels of student debt on the broader economy. Now we have evidence of strong, bipartisan public support for easing the burden on debtors themselves," said Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform. "The Department of Education should take heed, and work to expand opportunities for debt relief, not look to eliminate them."
Specifically the poll shows:
- 91 percent of voters favor permitting borrowers to refinance their existing student loans at a lower interest rate.
- 90 percent of voters favor creating flexible options for people with education debt to make affordable payments depending on their income.
- 70 percent of voters favor loan forgiveness for teachers, first responders, and non-profit workers.