Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) today voted against H.R. 1911, legislation that would end the current historically low 3.4 percent interest rate on student loans and tie future student loans to market-based interest rates that could fluctuate annually to a prohibitive 10.5 percent.
"The future of our community and our country depends on our students getting a high-quality college education," said Dr. Ruiz. "This bill is closing the door to opportunity and making college even more expensive at a time when so many students and working families in my District are already struggling with skyrocketing cost of higher education. Congress should be taking action to make college more affordable, but this plan does just the opposite and increases uncertainty."
The interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford student loans is set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013. H.R. 1911 would effectively end the 3.4 percent rate by tying federal student loans to market-based interest rates that would fluctuate year-by-year, similar to adjustable mortgage rates. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, families would have to pay even more under the market-based approach in H.R. 1911 than they would if Congress took no action before July 1st and allowed the interest rate to double to 6.8%.
"Inaction is unacceptable," said Dr. Ruiz. "Congress must take action before the July 1 deadline to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling. I urge my colleagues to stop playing politics with our students' future and get to work on a long-term plan to make college affordable and attainable for all students."