Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement today on the doubling of interest rates on federal student loans.
"As of today, the interest rates on all new federal student loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a college education for millions of young adults. It is deeply disappointing that Congress has yet to find a solution to this problem that makes college more affordable and does not make it harder for New Mexico's students and their families to pay for college.
"I recently met with a constituent, Dewayne Saltwater from the Chichiltah Navajo Nation Chapter near Gallup. Both he and his wife are working hard so that she can go to nursing school with the dream of building a better life for their family. They both work and in addition, they have taken out student loans to help pay for the cost of nursing school. But with interest rates increasing, they worry that they will both need to find second jobs in order to pay for the increased cost of their loans if Congress doesn't fix this problem.
"Unfortunately, House Republicans have failed to offer any real solutions, instead passing a bill that actually makes student loans more expensive. I have long supported a better solution, one that House Republicans denied us the opportunity to debate last week before sending Congress home without resolving this issue.
"I have cosponsored legislation to keep interest rates on federal student loans fixed at 3.4% for the next two years, giving Congress time to work on a permanent solution when we reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and preventing students from facing thousands more in interest payments.
"Despite the fact that interest rates are doubling today, it is not too late for Congress to solve this problem. When Congress returns to session next week, retroactively reducing interest rates and implementing a solution that makes college more affordable for New Mexico's students must be a top priority."