WASHINGTON (April 27, 2012) On behalf of the millions of hard-working students struggling to pay for college, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Interest Rate Reduction Act earlier today to help maintain low interest rates for federally backed student loans. With similar efforts moving in the Senate, we are pleased to see Congress put politics aside and take the issue of college affordability seriously.
Tuition rates are skyrocketing, increasing nearly twice as fast as healthcare costs and more than four times faster than inflation. Americans now owe more than $1 trillion dollars in student debt, and our countrys low- and middle-income college students are struggling to keep up.
Because federally backed Stafford loans are a vital component of the college affordability equation, it is imperative that Congress act by July 1, or interest rates will double as scheduled. Combined with anticipated tuition hikes, college costs for students receiving need-based Stafford loans will increase this fall by about 20 percent, barring Congressional action. We can ill afford for federal legislators to turn their backs on hard-working students trying to earn their way into the middle class and drive them and their families even deeper into debt.
In America, access to a good education should not be determined by how much your family can afford to pay. As the July 1 deadline looms, we hope Congress will do whats right: Stand up for students, avoid a partisan battle and work together to come to an agreement.
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