Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Janice Hahn (CA- 44) along with Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35) introduced the Get Relief from Academic Debt (GRAD) Act of 2013, which would extend the grace period of Federal Stafford Loans from six months to an entire year.

“With unemployment rates still so high, many of America’s college graduates get hit with their first student loan payment before they have managed to secure their place in the workforce,” said Hahn. “This bill provides a reasonable grace period that will allow recent graduates to kick start their career without the stress of having to repay their student loans in the first 6 months.”

Congresswoman Janice Hahn

Congresswoman Janice Hahn

“College graduates face a tough job market and are given only six months before they are obligated to begin paying off their student loans,” said Negrete McLeod. “By extending the grace period we are seeking a realistic, common sense resolution that gives recent college graduates a fighting chance to get a well-paying job and make good on their loans.”

Of the 37 million borrowers, 5.4 million have at least one past due student loan account.  A Rutgers University report found that nearly 30% of recent college graduates took more than seven months towards finding a job.  The report also stated that about half of all jobs gained by recent college grads were not full-time.

Current law allows for a six-month grace period before graduates have to begin paying back their loans.  The GRAD Act would increase the automatic six-month grace period to 12-months expanding a student’s chances of finding a better paying job to help pay back loans more responsibly.