Today, college students spoke out to urge Senators to reject the pending student loan deal, which may come up for a vote in the Senate as early as this afternoon.
"Congress should be doing everything they can to make college more accessible. Yet S. 1334, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, would do the exact opposite, by making it harder and more expensive for America's future students to get the education they need," stated Christine Lindstrom, the Higher Education Program Director for U.S. PIRG.
On July 1, the subsidized Stafford student loan interest rate doubled, from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, causing more than seven million students to incur an additional $1,000 in loan costs. The pending Senate legislation is being sold as a reversal of the rate hike, but in fact it would pay for lower short term interest rates by jacking those rates up within two years, followed by even higher rates throughout the decade.
Lindstrom continued: "If this new agreement is signed into law, by the year 2018, an undergraduate who takes out the maximum in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans will pay $4,700 more over the life of the loan than she would have last year – and $900 more than if the rate simply stayed at 6.8 percent."
Briana Mullen, a rising junior at the University of California, said she was horrified when her subsidized Stafford student loan rate doubled from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1. "While the policy before the Senate will reverse the rate hike and keep my rates low, it pays for my low rate by jacking up the rates that my sixteen-year-old sister will pay, as well as the rates that my little twin brother and sister will pay. There's no difference between us in terms of potential, so there shouldn't be any difference in terms of cost."
Mullen's sixteen year old sister, Dakota Friend, also spoke: "I don’t understand why she gets more affordable loans than I do."
Dominic Campion, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, stated, "My eleven-year-old brother should not have to pay for my low rates when she gets to college. Federal policy should invest in all college students, not favor some at the expense of others."
"That the subsidized Stafford student loan rate doubled on July 1 is a big problem. But this attempted fix makes things worse in the long run. This is a bad deal for students, because it will make the problem of student debt even worse," Lindstrom added.
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