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Amy Dalrymple, Published November 12 2009

Franken hears from Moorhead college students about loan debt

MOORHEAD – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., heard from college students today about their struggles to pay for their education.

Eight students at Minnesota State University Moorhead told Franken they expect to graduate with about $25,000 to $65,000 in student loan debt.

All of the students who met with Franken have held jobs while going to school, including two who work 40 hours a week.

Franken is visiting campuses around the state to hear from students about the challenges they face paying for college.

He is supporting a measure in the Senate that would streamline the student loan system and put the savings into student aid.

The proposal would end the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which subsidizes banks to make student loans, with the government guaranteeing the loans and the lenders keeping the profits.

It would switch schools to the Direct Loan Program, which is estimated to save $87 billion that will be put back into making college more affordable.

MSUM already participates in the Direct Loan Program.

Concordia College and North Dakota State University use the Federal Family Education Loan Program and would need to change to direct lending under the proposal.

For more on this story, read Friday’s Forum.