Today, Senator Brian Schatz joined Senators Reed, Hagan, Franken, Harkin, Warren, and Stabenow, among others, in taking action to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st. The Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, in which Senator Schatz is an original co-sponsor, would extend current student loan interest rates for a year so that students do not face the costly burden of Congress' inaction. Senator Schatz recently joined Senator Elizabeth Warren in supporting legislation that would allow students to pay the same low interest rates on their student loans that the government offers to big banks. Without today's legislation, student loan interest rates would double, causing students to pay 9 times more in interest rates than the banks on Wall Street that caused the economic crisis.
"Students across the nation are struggling, and Congress has a responsibility to act on their behalf," said Senator Brian Schatz. "This bill would extend and fully pay for an additional year of the current 3.4 percent interest rate on student loan rates, set to double on July 1st. I am committed to ensuring that students do not pay the price of congressional inaction, and that is why this temporary fix is so important. But we must also take the next step and come up with a real solution to reduce the cost of higher education and keep student loan rates low permanently. The average Hawaii student graduates with more than $23,000 in student loans. We cannot allow our students to enter the workforce drowning in debt. I call on my Senate colleagues to pass this important fix today and to continue working on reforms to protect our students and keep college within reach for all."