Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) was joined by Stephen J. Friedman, the President of Pace University, today in urging Congress to act immediately to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.
"It is unacceptable that the House Majority has stood in the way of protecting American students from an interest rate hike that will affect 7.4 million students," said Lowey. "Failing to maintain low-interest student loans is irresponsible and will put an unnecessary burden on students and families. In order to be competitive in the global economy, we must invest in and protect access to affordable education."
"Higher education is a central component of both a just society and a market economy because it is about creating equal opportunity for all," said Friedman. "There can be no doubt about the stunning correlation between education, employment, and income in the United States, so it is imperative that we maintain access to low-interest student loans for all qualified Americans, like the 60 percent of undergraduates at Pace University who borrowed federal loans last year. By doing so, we will live up to the ideals of our history, as expressed in the American dream, while we continue to advance as a nation in today's global world."
In March 2012, the House Republican majority passed a budget that included doubling interest rates on new student loans. The budget would impose additional financial burdens on college students, including drastic cuts to Pell Grants for more than 9.6 million students and elimination of federal work study funding for 166,000 more students.
An estimated 7.4 million students would be affected by the doubling student loan interest rates on July 1, and with each year Congress allows the rates to double, the average student would accrue an additional $1,000 in debt.
"It is critical for the Republican Majority to stop playing politics and start working with the Democrats to prevent this increase in the cost of education," said Lowey. "This should not be a partisan issue - we must preserve the economic security of the middle class and strengthen our economy."