Today, Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27) and Adam Schiff (CA-28), held a press conference urging Congress to act before student loan rates double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1st.
"Higher education is the single greatest avenue of upward mobility that our society has ever known," said Rep. Chu. "But student loan debt is already more than all of our nation's credit card debt, combined! If these rates are allowed double next month, the debt that young people incur to reach a brighter future will instead hold them back from reaching their full potential. That is absolutely unacceptable, which is why Congress must act immediately to keep interest rates at 3.4 percent."
In 2007, Congress lowered interest rates on Stafford student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent, helping countless young Americans earn their degrees. When that rate was set to expire on July 1, 2012, public pressure led to a one year extension, which is set to expire in three weeks.
"Seven million students and their families nationwide rely on federally subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for college, and last year, when the provision expired, Congress responded to a public outcry and acted to protect our nation's students once more by extending the lower interest rate for a single year," Rep. Schiff added. "We must once again take action with student loan rates set to soar on July 1st -- we have just 21 days until rates double. We must continue to protect students and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed instead of levying a huge financial burden and hampering their potential. It is our responsibility to ensure that college remains accessible and affordable."
Officials from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena City College, East Los Angeles College, as well as students and activists from Young Invincibles joined the Congressional leaders and told of how hiked rates would negatively impact students in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.