Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) released the following statement today on the doubling of the subsidized student loan interest rate. Failure by Congress to stop the doubling means that over seven million students have now seen their rates double to 6.8 percent. DeLauro is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Education.
"Congress should take immediate action to retroactively keep the subsidized student loan interest rate at 3.4 percent. Every American should have the opportunity to get an education and a better life, and it is unthinkable that we are making it harder for them to do that. Well over half of students take out loans, including 68 percent of women. The Republican Majority should stop playing games and work with Democrats on a real solution to keep higher education affordable for our hard working students."
Last year, student debt topped $1 trillion for the first time and now stands at $1.1 trillion. Two-thirds of the Class of 2010 graduated with student loan debt; the average was $25,000. Every year Congress fails to act will cost students with subsidized loans $1,000 in additional interest payments. In the recently concluded academic year, there were 73,051 student borrowers in Connecticut who will be impacted by this increase.
These facts are staggering on top of the fact young Americans have the highest unemployment rate of any group. Over the last 30 years, the average tuition at four-year state universities has almost quadrupled. After accounting for population growth and inflation, critical federal programs like Work Study, TRIO, GEAR UP, and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, have been cut by almost a third over the last decade. And the sequester cuts have cost around 500 Connecticut students Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and 500 others have been cut from work-study programs.