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U.S. Rep. Castor Criticizes Republican Obstruction that Causes Student Loan Interest Rate Hike

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Location: Washington, DC

If Congress does not act by Monday, the rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans will double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.

"This is the No. 1 priority for students at Florida universities and across the nation," U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said. "Student leaders visited the U.S. Capitol this week to urge Congress to act. Others have been active through social media and teleconferences."

Rep. Castor cosponsored two alternative bills to fight rising student loan interest rates, and implement or maintain fair measures for student loans. However, House Republicans instead passed a bill in late May to saddle students and families with higher interest payments for their loans.

"Once again, time is running out and the House Republican leadership is sending a message that our future workforce, continued economic recovery, students and college affordability for working families are not priorities," Rep. Castor said. Last year under the same kind of urging from Rep. Castor and others, just two days before low interest rates were set to expire, Republicans extended them for one more year.

Below are statements from student government associations of Florida universities and colleges about the looming student loan interest rate increase:

· This will have a reverse effect on the economy and start a vicious cycle. Consumer spending fuels the economy and with more debt, it leaves graduating students with less for discretionary spending. -- Patrick "PK" Creedon, University of Tampa Student Body President

· I already have had a lot of students come to me who are considering discontinuing their studies after receiving their AA degrees because they're not sure they can afford to repay student loans with higher interest rates. They are already facing challenges affording housing and food, and afraid of reductions in other student financial assistance, such as Pell grants. -- Chris McDermott, Hillsborough Community College Student Government Association Advisor

· The rising student loan rate will make it difficult for graduates to invest in our economy. The average debt for a student in Florida is over $23,000. This kind of debt hurts our economy because we spend too much of our income repaying student loans instead of investing in our communities. -- Stefano Cavallaro, Florida State University Student Government Association Director of Government Affairs

· Providing students and their families stability and security as they plan their college careers and make life altering decisions is our goal. -- Christina Bonarrigo, University of Florida Student Body President


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