US Senator Elizabeth Warren and US Rep. John Tierney on Monday joined students, professors, college administrators and higher education policymakers for a roundtable discussion on student loan reform.
Warren and Tierney addressed the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, the bill they introduced in the Senate and House that would stop student loan interest rates from doubling and allow students to pay the same interest rate on their government loans as big banks.
Since introducing the legislation, Warren and Tierney have seen an outpouring of support from students and their families, colleges and universities, and groups who understand the economic strain caused by student loan debt.
"If Congress lets student loan interest rates double this summer, our kids will pay rates nine times higher than the big banks on their government loans. That's wrong," said Warren. "We should be encouraging our students by investing in their education. Keeping interest rates low not only will help young people who are drowning in debt, but also will strengthen our economy and help grow the middle class."
"While the same Wall Street banks that brought our financial system to the brink of disaster can access 'cheap' money, middle-class students are having to borrow at a much higher rate to finance their college education," said Tierney, the only New England Member on the house Education and the Workforce Committee. "As the students here today have highlighted, that's unjust and offensive. The legislation Senator Warren and I introduced would make an investment in our students' future as well as provide students and families across the country with real relief. Congress must take immediate action to stop the doubling of the student loan interest on July 1."
Student loan interest rates are set to jump from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1, while banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve's discount window at a rate of approximately 0.75 percent.