Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement today after voting against legislation that would allow interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans to rise as high as 8.25 percent. Luján is a cosponsor of legislation to reduce interest rates to 3.4 percent, the level they were before doubling on July 1.
"A college education is vital to the future of young people in New Mexico and across the country. In order to get ahead and compete in an increasingly global economy, a college degree has become a necessity. Sadly, too many students and families in New Mexico are struggling to afford the rising cost of higher education. The legislation that passed the House and Senate, unfortunately, does not adequately address the challenge facing these families and allows interest rates on student loans to rise as high as 8.25 percent.
"While interest rates in the immediate future will drop down below the current rate of 6.8 percent, as interest rates rise in the future, so too will the costs borne by students and their families. This legislation -- instead of fully investing in the future of our students -- places the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of students, leaving them to pay higher rates in order to generate additional revenue that pays down the deficit. Students deserve better. I believe we must go further to make college more affordable and accessible for all who have the determination and desire to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their families.
"I hope in the coming months, Congress will focus on ways to reduce the increasing cost of a college education -- from rising tuition to the growing expense of books and fees. I stand ready to work with my colleagues to address this issues that is vital to the future of our young people and the future of our nation."