Statement From The Education Trust on the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act
WASHINGTON (July 24, 2013) Todays vote on a student loan interest rate compromise on the floor of the Senate will bring to a temporary close a long debate on the appropriate level of interest for student borrowers to pay. Unfortunately, the deal will ultimately raise rates on students, making it harder to pay for college. It also fails to address the fundamental issues of rising college costs and debt burdens at a time when these issues are more pressing to families than ever.
The Senate deal is a missed opportunity. Nationally, we carry a student loan burden of over $1 trillion. It should be a priority for Congress to ensure that all hard-working students, especially low-income students, can afford a postsecondary education. Congress needs to address how the federal government, in partnership with states, institutions, and students, can reduce costs and increase completion. Unfortunately, the compromise focuses, albeit poorly, only on the narrow issue of loan rates while ignoring these other pressing issues.
We look forward to working with Congress and the administration during upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to again address the issue of student loan interest rates as part of a larger focus on affordability and completion. We urge a prompt reauthorization of the Higher Education Act so that millions of students can count on a more just interest rate structure and stop worrying about rising tuition and debt burdens.