Demonstrating his continued commitment to affordable higher education, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline announced that he is co-sponsoring a package of three bills designed to maintain low interest rates on student loans.
"The exorbitant cost of a higher education is one of the greatest obstacles facing young people today, and that's why I was so eager to hear directly from my Congressional Youth Cabinet regarding this important issue," said Cicilline. "I am proud to announce that I will be co-sponsoring three bills designed to keep student interest rates low. Investing in the education of young people today is one of the surest ways to get our country back on the right track in the long-term."
Now serving his second term in Congress, Cicilline has co-sponsored the Student Loan Relief Act, the Responsible Student Loan Solutions Act, and the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act -- a collection of proposals that would revamp the way that student loan interest rates are calculated and help ensure that young people don't end up with excessive debt simply for pursuing an advanced degree.
Today's announcement followed the conclusion of the second meeting of Cicilline's Congressional Youth Cabinet -- a group of high school juniors from schools in Rhode Island's First Congressional District who first convened in February to provide insight on issues important to young people. The Congressional Youth Cabinet discussed the cost of higher education with Cicilline and offered thoughts on how Congress could increase the affordability and accessibility of post-secondary education.
The Congressional Youth Cabinet was joined by Gail Mance-Rios, Deputy Director of the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority who discussed her experience working to secure scholarships, student loans, and grants for prospective college and university students.
Mance-Rios praised Cicilline's attention to the issue of higher education, saying, "I welcome Congressional action to resolve the rising cost of higher education and student loan debt. I was encouraged by today's conversation and I am pleased that Congressman Cicilline is taking action to take action on an issue that is so important for so many Rhode Islanders."
The Student Loan Relief Act would immediately extend the 3.4% interest rate on Stafford loans for two years, through July 1, 2015, ensuring that millions of students won't see their interest rates go up this summer. Under current law, interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans will double to 6.8% on July 1, 2013.
In addition, the Responsible Student Loan Solutions Act would determine student loan interest rates by the actual cost of the program, helping guarantee that young people can take advantage of the lowest possible rates available from the federal government rather than a fixed rate.
The third bill that Cicilline has co-sponsored, the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, would set the interest rate on Stafford loans at the primary interest rate offered through the Federal Reserve discount window, meaning that students would have access to the same low interest rates that banks take advantage of today.