Over 44 million Americans collectively hold nearly $1.5 trillion in student debt and almost no one is immune — including members of Congress. Even though the 115th Congress is one of the richest of all time, Roll Call found that one in 10 members holds student debt, either personally or for a family member.
Out of 530 voting members of Congress (431 members of the House of Representatives and 99 Senators, minus vacancies), 53 listed owing a total of $1.8 million in student loans in their financial disclosures. Of these student debt holders, 28 had a positive net worth and 25 had a negative net worth.
For instance, California Representative Ro Khanna listed $50,000 in student loans, but he is actually worth over $27 million thanks to considerable tech investments and his wife's significant family wealth. "I certainly have been very blessed and fortunate in my own life that I've been in a position where the loans are not crippling," he tells Roll Call. "But there are a lot of people who don't have that opportunity."
Florida Congressman Darren Soto is one of the 25 representatives who, based on the methodology used for Roll Call's Wealth of Congress report, has a negative net worth. "I still owe $75,000 and understand the great responsibility of repayment," he says. "I value education and believe having the ability to attend a top law school was an essential part of my success."
A representative for Rep. Soto maintains that despite his outstanding loan balance, he has a positive net worth.