Anyone who has been to college in the last couple of decades knows the burden of student loan debt. Now, a New Mexico-specific report from Generation Progress lays out the raw numbers in all their not-so-great glory.
243,000 New Mexicans have some form of student loan debt and our state’s total student loan debt tab comes in at a whopping $6.1 billion.
Calls have been coming from elected leaders around the country to do something about this crushing debt burden — one of the only types of debt that can’t be jettisoned in bankruptcy. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) have introduced legislation at the federal level to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at lower rates — a move estimated to save borrowers $14 billion and add $21 billion to the U.S. economy.
Here in New Mexico, Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-Bernalillo) introduced a bill during the last legislative session to allow taxpayers to deduct student loan interest off their taxes. The bill was meant to quicken student loan repayment. The bill died in committee but here’s how Senator Candelaria described it to the Santa Fe New Mexican in late 2014:
The bill, he said, would provide a state-based tax deduction for money spent paying off student loan interest. Candelaria said the deduction would work in tandem with a similar federal plan that helps student repay loans more quickly.
“The federal deduction program has been successful,” Candelaria said. “I think we can build on that success as a state. This problem is getting worse in New Mexico. It makes especially compelling for us to respond to this.”
Check out the Generation Progress report below, which has some great state-level data about New Mexico’s student loan debt burden and the federal legislation aimed at helping borrowers.