Today, interest rates on Stafford student loans doubled, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Congress first lowered the government-backed rates to 3.4 percent in 2007, 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 came to its statutory end today.
"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!
"Saddling this kind of debt on the next generation of American leaders will hold them back from reaching their full potential. It's an unacceptable burden for young people to should for the sake of a brighter future, and it's an untenable policy for a nation struggling its way out of recession.
"I have repeatedly called on Congress to stop these rate hikes from taking place, and I am proud to have voted for a Democratic alternative that would have kept student rates at 3.4 percent. While those rates have already doubled, it will be three months before our students feel the pain. We must act immediately to bring the rates back down before students across America begin paying for Congress' inability to get something done."
Congresswoman Chu is a staunch proponent of keeping student interest rates low. As a former educator with more than 20 years of experience in the classroom, she consistently advocates for increasing opportunities for young people to earn their higher education and contribute to our society.
On June 10, Chu was joined at a press conference by Rep. Adam Schiff and officials from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena City College, East Los Angeles College, as well as students and activists from Young Invincibles.