Representative Tim Walz is taking action to force an up-or-down vote on key legislation that would prevent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans from doubling on July 1. Rep. Walz joined his colleagues in signing a discharge petition, led by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), to bring up H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013.
Today, Walz also released a video highlighting southern Minnesota college student's support for keeping rates at 3.4 percent.
H.R. 1595, co-sponsored by Rep. Walz, freezes the interest rate on these loans at 3.4 percent for the next two years -- giving Congress time to enact comprehensive student loan reform and make college more affordable as part of a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
"Last month I was proud to join college students on the campus of MSU-Mankato to talk about ways to keep college affordable. They had a simple message for me to take back to Washington: keep college affordable and prevent interest rates from doubling," said Rep. Walz. "It's time for the Majority leadership in the House to listen to hardworking students and families and allow a vote on this common sense legislation."
Students at Minnesota public and private universities currently graduate with an average debt load of nearly $30,000--the third highest in the county.
If Congress fails to act before July 1, interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, piling billions of more dollars of debt onto the backs of students across Minnesota and the country.
In late May House Republicans passed a bill (H.R. 1911) which would allow the interest rates on student loans to fluctuate yearly. This fluctuating interest rate would make college more expensive than if Congress did nothing and allowed rates to double. The Minnesota State University Student Association and the Minnesota State College Student Association, representing 175,000 students across Minnesota, oppose H.R. 1911.
Representative Walz also opposed H.R. 1911 saying in part, it is not the plan students and middle class families need or are looking for.
"We should be increasing access to higher education, not creating hurdles to it," said Walz.