Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) voted in support of advancing a bill to keep federally subsidized college student loan rates from doubling in July. The action to advance the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012 (S. 2343) failed by a 52 to 45 vote, short of the 60 votes needed to move to debate.
"We need to act quickly to ensure that American students can continue to access an affordable, quality education," said Cantwell, who with the help of Pell Grants was the first member of her family to graduate college. "That's why I voted today for a responsible plan to keep student loan rates from doubling in July. In Washington state alone, this increase would cost more than 100,000 college students $83 million more in loan payments. Washington state already needs thousands of educated workers to fill high-skilled jobs. We cannot afford to make a college education harder to access."
If Congress doesn't act, student loan interest rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1st. According to the Project on Student Debt, Washington state college seniors who graduated in 2010 carried an average of $22,201 in student loan debt. Nearly 60 percent of Washington state 2010 college graduates carried debt.