Today, Gov. Peter Shumlin called upon congressional leadershuip to take prompt action to keep higher education accessible.
"I urge congressional leaders to find a compromise that prevents interest rates on the Stafford student loan program from doubling on July 1, so that higher education costs don't climb out of reach of American students and their families. The federal loan program is named after the late U.S. Sen. Robert T. Stafford, a Vermont Republican, who understood the value of an affordable college degree. In Vermont, we have recognized that tuition increases and the doubling of loan rates are not sustainable, and the state Legislature -- with the support of my administration -- has taken proactive steps to hold the line on the cost of higher education while making access to college courses easier and more affordable for high school students. We are doing our part, and Vermont's congressional delegation has also worked to prevent this steep jump in federal loan rates. Now it is time for Congress to act.
"The scheduled doubling of the loan rates could put college further out of reach for many families at a time when post-secondary training and education have never been more important in ensuring the nation's workforce has the skills to compete in a global economy. Right now, families across the country are trying to figure out how to pay for college. For the Vermonters and millions of Americans who would be impacted by a rate increase, this is a very real concern that will hit their pocketbooks and dash their opportunities.
"As government leaders, we should work together to give our children the education they need to succeed. I urge Congress to move quickly to prevent the Stafford loan rates from doubling on July 1 to keep higher education more accessible for all American students."