Governor Scott called Congress irresponsible for going on recess and allowing federal student loan interest rates to double. Starting today, federally-subsidized student loan rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent because Congress was unable to reach a compromise.
Governor Rick Scott said, "It is irresponsible for Congress to recess and allow student loan rates to double. Doubling the interest rate on federal college loans effectively kills the chance for many Florida families to live the American Dream. This is equivalent to a $936 tax on Florida families per loan each year. As I call for Florida's colleges and universities to hold the line on tuition, Washington bureaucrats must come back to work together on behalf of Florida's families and students.
"The rising cost of a four-year degree at a university not only makes it difficult for our children to obtain a degree, but makes planning for college difficult for Florida families. Since 2006-2007, the price of a prepaid 4-year university plan for a newborn has increased from $14,616 to $53,729 -- more than 350 percent increase in six years.
"Florida's students and families now face higher education costs because Washington bureaucrats were unable to work together on behalf of America's students. Fewer students will now be able to attend college and get jobs that require degrees because Washington chose politics over our families."
The Florida College System was ranked the most affordable in the country by the U.S. Department of Education's (USED) College Affordability and Transparency Center. Among public, four-year institutions, the center identified 19 Florida colleges as being in the bottom 10 percent for tuition and fees. The average for tuition and fees in the FCS for public, four-year institutions is $2,792, well below the mid-point of the national average of $7,135. The average for tuition and fees in the FCS for public, two-year institutions is $2,727, below the national average of $2,905.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a student loan compromise bill based on a proposal by President Obama designed to garner bi-partisan support. The Democrat-controlled Senate was unable to successfully pass similar legislation. The Senate proposal would have kept the student loan interest rate the same by raising taxes on small businesses.