Here’s something that many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have in common: representing areas where residents have student loan debt that is well above the national average.
After many lawmakers devoted attention to student debt in the run up to the election, do their words ring hollow? According to new congressional data from LendEDU released in February, which set out to see how Republican and Democratic politicians fare when it comes to student loan debt, it turns out that answer is yes in some cases. With that in mind, here are the ten members in the House of Representatives who represent recent graduates from the Class of 2015 that have the highest average levels of student loan debt.
Rep. Austin Scott, the Republican from Georgia, may be fiscally responsible when it comes to taxes, but the same can’t be said about student loan debt in his district. Recently graduated student loan borrowers in District 8 of Georgia have an average of $48,460 in student debt, well above the national average. About 43 percent of graduates have student loans which is actually lower than other districts. That’s not to say Scott isn’t trying to help. He introduced a bill that would cut taxes on the money an employer kicks in to help with student loans.
Republican districts aren’t the only ones with high student debt, however. Though long time Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York supports a slew of reforms including low interest rate loans, student loan forgiveness, and tax breaks, his district, District 10, has the second highest average student loan debt, coming in at $45,113. Furthermore, 80 percent of graduates have student loans in his district. In the past, he voiced his opinions on keeping “interest rates from increasing for millions of students.”
Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut represents a fair portion of borrowers holding the student loan debt that is out of control throughout the nation. Himes supports low student loan interest rates and calls on colleges to be more affordable. On a recent legislative action, Rep. Himes said, “The legislation I recently introduced would support such models to help keep higher education an achievable, and still attainable, goal for all Americans.” Despite this, his constituency has an average debt of $42,912.
Coming in fourth place is Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the Republican from Pennsylvania’s District 8, though Fitzpatrick is new to the House of Representatives. For now, he shouldn’t be blamed for the $41,864 in average student loan debt and the 84 percent of college graduates who had to borrow money to go to college.
For some lawmakers, student loan debt simply isn’t their top priority. In the case of Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, it shows. The average student debt per borrower in his district, Texas District 21, stands at $41,511, but that fact shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Smith hasn’t worked on any significant student loan legislation, but he does believe college should be “accessible and affordable.” At last count, 76 percent of the district’s college graduates have at least one student loan.
Rounding out the top ten are Michigan Rep. David Trott, the Republican from District 11, who represents borrowers with an average student loan debt of $40,976; New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith whose District 4 averages $40,927 in student debt; Republican Rep. Tom Emmer’s district, District 6 in Minnesota, with an average student debt of $40,067; Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton for Massachusetts District 6 with an average debt of $39,055; and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Republican from District 16, with student loan debt averaging around $38,400.
Author: Dave Rathmanner
Join the LendEDU Newsletter
News, insights, & tips once a weekThanks for submittingPlease Enter a valid email
Student Loan Guides
Student Loan Reviews