Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) was joined today by Foothill College President Judy Miner and Latino Heritage Month Committee Chair Ashley Oropeza to discuss the financial barriers to college education. Eshoo urged students to add their support to legislation, the Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012, to keep interest rates affordable on need-based student loans. Speaking at Foothill College, Rep. Eshoo highlighted the effects the impending rise in interest rates would have on thousands of students in California's 14th Congressional district who presently have Stafford loans.
"Today, nearly 3,000 students and their families in my district will be grappling with double the interest rate on their college loans within the next 60 days. That equates to an additional $1,000 of debt per year for every student borrower. That is, if Congress doesn't act to renew reduced rates for need-based student loans," Rep. Eshoo said. "So I'm fighting for legislation to keep college affordable. Our moral imperative to put higher education within reach for every American is at stake. At a time when the unemployment rate for those with a college degree is about half the national average, it's never been more important."
In 2007, Rep. Eshoo voted to pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA), which provided relief to students from high interest rates by lowering rates on need-based student loans over a four-year period. The law decreased the interest rate from 6.8 percent in the 2006-2007 academic year to 3.4 percent in the 2011-2012 academic year. Fifteen million students, including over ten thousand in Eshoo's district, benefitted from these lower rates with less expensive monthly payments on their loans. However, the CCRAA's provisions to provide relief to students will sunset on July 1st of this year. For the need-based student loans made to 7.4 million borrowers nationwide for the next academic year, interest rates are set to double to 6.8 percent.