Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) met with a small group of Monmouth University students to discuss the need for certainty and stability in student loan interest rates. Interest rates on need-based loans for more than 7 million students are set to double in July of this year, and the students asked questions and talked to the Congressman about the impact this interest rate hike would have for them.
"A college education should not be reserved strictly for the wealthy and fortunate, but it should be an opportunity for all those with the desire and determination to expand their educational horizons," said Pallone. "With current interest rates at historic lows, and exceptionally high unemployment for recent college graduates, allowing student loan interest rates to double is unfair and makes no sense."
The majority of student loans are federally backed loans, and if Congress fails to act on this issue, the neediest students will pay $1,000 in additional repayment costs per year. Last year, interest rates were set to double for student loans as well, until a public outcry compelled the Republican led Congress to extend the 3.4 percent rate through the 2012 - 2013 academic year.
Congressman Pallone has been a longtime and outspoken advocate for access to and affordability of higher education. In 2007, Democrats in Congress provided relief for students from high interest rates on need-based loans by passing the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. The law lowered interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans each year until they reached their current low of 3.4 percent. Since then, millions of students have benefitted from lower rates.