The cost of attending college could soon be a lot more expensive for current students and incoming freshman. Interest rates for Stafford student loans are set to double to 6.8 percent on July 1 if Congress doesn't act now.
On Monday, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) hosted a press conference at Broward College Central Campus to stress the need for Congressional action to prevent interest rates on Stafford student loans from doubling.
On July 1, interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans -- one of the few programs that is affordable for students and families -- will double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. This will increase costs for more than 7 million students, and affects almost 500,000 students right here in Florida. Without Congressional action, next year a student borrower could pay $1,000 in additional repayment costs.
Last Friday, House Republicans played political games with this critical issue by passing a partisan bill that blocks the interest rate increase but pays for it by undermining health care for all Americans. It calls for eliminating a fund used to pay for some preventive care services, like screening for cervical cancer and breast cancer, childhood immunizations, and initiatives to reduce birth defects.
This bill is particularly incongruous for nursing, pre-med and medical school students because in order to pay for lowering the interest rate on Stafford loans, it would mean fewer jobs in the medical field. Joining Rep. Wasserman Schultz on Monday was Jessica Marshall, a Broward College student who is studying to pursue a career in medicine.
"A college education should not be only for the lucky few, but should be an opportunity for all those who are determined to work hard and get a degree," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "This is not the time to play politics with our students' economic future, or with our country's health care. As a Member of Congress, and as a parent of three kids, I understand the importance of making college affordable for all students, and I don't want 7 million students to see college education become further out of reach. We must come to an agreement, and I believe the way to do it is by ending unnecessary tax subsidies for big oil companies. Now more than ever, America must make an investment in our future by investing in our students."