Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter voted against H.R. 1911, the "Making College More Expensive Act." The bill would end the current 3.4 percent interest rate on student loans and instead push students into loans with higher interest rates that fluctuate year by year, a policy that would cost students and families $3.7 billion over the next decade in additional interest payments relative to current law.
"New Hampshire students are already saddled with the highest student debt in the nation," Shea-Porter said. "We should be helping students and families, not burdening them with higher interest payments than they'd have if Congress did nothing. I call on Republican Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on straightforward legislation that would freeze the current 3.4 percent rate on subsidized Stafford loans for the next two years. This policy will help our young people achieve financial security and become drivers of an innovative and growing economy."
In April, Shea-Porter cosponsored H.R. 1433, legislation to prevent the doubling of student loan rates for a period of two years.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the Republican bill, H.R. 1911, is more expensive for students and families than allowing interest rates to double -- with even higher interest payments by students and families. Under H.R. 1911, students who borrow the maximum amount of subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans over five years would pay nearly $2,000 more in interest costs than if interest rates doubled.
Under the Republican bill, interest rates on loans would be reset every year. So, the interest rate on a loan taken out next year by a freshman may start off low, but they don't get to keep that interest rate for the life of the loan. It will change every year just like predatory adjustable rate mortgages.
The Project on Student Debt found that New Hampshire students who borrowed for college and earned bachelor's degrees in 2011 graduated with an average debt of $32,440, the highest student debt load in the country. Shea-Porter believes education is a key to our nation's prosperity, and she has worked to expand access and affordability to higher education. She was a strong supporter of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the Higher Education and Opportunity Act, and the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act when they were enacted in the 111th Congress.