These days, almost no one can afford to pay the full cost of college.
In fact, about 84 percent of full-time college undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. About 56 percent take out student loans -- on average, taking on $8,100 a year in debt. Even among students whose families earn more than $100,000 a year, about 46 percent take out student loans.
These figures were revealed this week in a new federal survey of student aid. Taken as a whole, the report shows that America is failing to make higher education affordable and accessible for every student.
Fixing the problem will require a major overhaul of our nation's education policy -- but in the meantime, we can at least help make student loan debt as manageable as possible.
Although Congress passed and the President signed a new law this month making student loan interest rates somewhat lower for now, the same law allows for rates to go far higher in the future. Congress can and should take the obvious step further and set interest rates much lower. Together with others in the House and Senate, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I've co-sponsored legislation that would cut the interest rate on federal student loans to just 0.75 percent -- the same rate the government charges Wall Street banks to borrow money.
Would You Turn Down $8 Million?
In February 2012, the federal government essentially wrote New Jersey a check for $7.67 million. The aim? To help our state establish an online marketplace so that New Jerseyans can shop for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Unfortunately, Gov. Christie, driven by his party's reflexive opposition to the health reform law, refused to establish such a marketplace -- handing the task over to the federal government instead. In doing so, he left New Jersey at risk of losing these millions of dollars in federal aid.
Earlier this month, I wrote to Gov. Christie urging him to use the funds now to help uninsured New Jerseyans understand their rights under the new health reform law, and to help small businesses understand how the law affects them. With just 39 days until the new insurance marketplace opens for enrollment, we cannot waste any time in helping New Jerseyans understand their health care options.
The governor has until February 20, 2014 to use the money before it could be revoked. He should not allow his party's irrational hostility to health reform to prevent him from using these funds to improve the lives of New Jerseyans.
Thank You to Summer Interns
This summer, I was privileged to work with a number of excellent interns in my offices in D.C. and New Jersey. I was deeply impressed by their intelligence, willingness to learn, and commitment to public service. They have served the people of central New Jersey with distinction.
Interns in the D.C. office included Caitlyn Borghi (Dayton, NJ), Mark Speidel (Lawrenceville, NJ), Danielle Weeks (Princeton Junction, NJ), Ronald Williams (North Brunswick, NJ), and Ioan Vlad Solomon (Plainsboro, NJ). Interns in the New Jersey office included Fatema Ghasletwala (East Windsor, NJ), Morgan Gruenewald (Hopewell, NJ), Keely Herring (Princeton, NJ), Zach Lawrence (Princeton, NJ), Joseph McNichol (Ewing, NJ), Sarah Shapiro (West Windsor, NJ), Vrishank Subramani (Monmouth Junction, NJ), and Nomin Ujiyediin (West Windsor, NJ).
Further information on Congressional internship opportunities is available on my website.
Member of Congress
P.S. Just a reminder: I always want to hear from you, but to ensure a prompt response, please don't reply to this e-mail. Instead, please visit holt.house.gov/contact or call 1-87-RUSH-HOLT (1-877-874-4658).