Student loan debt is exploding. Outstanding student loans now total more than $1.2 trillion – and each year, students are taking on more and more and more. In 2012, an astonishing 71% of college seniors owed student loans, and, from 2004 to 2012, the average student loan balance increased by 70%.

Now, millions of young people are struggling to keep up with their student loan payments. Young people are working hard, playing by the rules, and getting an education – only to be crushed with student loan debt.

The economic impact is real. Federal watchdog agencies like the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are already sounding the alarm. Every day, this exploding debt stops more and more young people from moving out of their parents’ homes, from saving for a down payment, buying homes, buying cars, starting small businesses, saving for retirement, or making purchases that grow our economy.

Forty million Americans have outstanding student loans. The Bank on StudentsEmergency Loan Refinancing Act will save millions of these young people hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, putting real money back into their pockets. The sooner we pass refinancing legislation, the sooner they’ll get a little bit of relief.

Brenda Lawrence supports the Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) plan for college age students. This legislation would spend $51 billion over the next decade bailing out people who have trouble paying down their student loans, and offsetting that cost by raising taxes on high-income earners.

Warren is working toward Senate passage of her Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would let people refinance their loans to a 3.86 percent rate for undergraduate loans, and a slightly higher rate for post-graduate loans.

According to Senator Warren “Forty million Americans are dealing with student loan debt,” she said. “Today, it’s causing young people not to be able to save up money to buy a home, not be able to start a small business, not be able to make the purchases that move this economy forward.”