Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) statement on the Senate’s failure to advance a student loan bill Tuesday contains a noteworthy detail: The freshman lawmaker and potential running mate for Mitt Romney is still paying back his own student loans.
“I think I am one of the only senators here who still has a student loan,” Rubio, 40, said in a statement after the Senate vote. “As someone with a student loan and with a state with so many people with student loans, I support a hundred percent making sure that the interest rates on student loans do not go up.”
The proposed bill would reauthorize low rates on federally subsidized college student loans for another year.
Rubio, who joined 43 other Republicans in voting to block debate on the Democratic student loan proposal, added: “I cannot support the way the Democrats want to do it, however, because, they want to do it by raising taxes on small businesses, very small businesses.”
According to his 2010 Senate financial disclosure form, Rubio has from $100,001 to $250,000 in outstanding debt from a 1996 Sallie Mae student loan.
Rubio received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Florida in 1993 and a law degree from the University of Miami Law School three years later.
The financial disclosure forms also show that Rubio pays an interest rate of 4 percent on his loan – slightly higher than the current 3.4 percent rate that applies to federal Stafford loans. The Stafford loan rates will jump to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress acts to freeze them at their current level.
As the debate over student loan rates heats up, and campaigns work to bring in young voters, Republicans and Democrats and offering personal stories about their struggles to pay off college debt. President Obama frequently notes on the campaign trail that he and his wife, Michelle Obama, made their last student loan payments in 2004 – the same year that Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate.