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Getting Schooled: 1 in 10 Members of Congress Has Student Loan Debt

While more than half of federal lawmakers are millionaires and their combined median net worthshot up 6.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, there’s at least one way in which many members of Congress can understand the plight of millions of Americans: They owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

With the astronomical cost of a college education taking an increasingly prominent role in the 2016 presidential campaign, 53 lawmakers – about 10 percent of Congress, including nonvoting members of the House – know firsthand about the lingering debts that can follow a few years of study: That’s how many either owed student loans themselves or had family members who did at the start of this year, according to the latest data available. Only three were senators, who are usually wealthier than House members. More than half, 31, were Republicans. Together, their student loan debt totaled between $1.6 million and $4.1 million, which contributed to a record national student loan debt of $1.2 trillion in 2014.