Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, today voted for the Ensuring Continued Access to Federal Student Loans Act which would ensure that the current unstable economy does not keep students and families from accessing the federal student loans they need to pay for college.
"The current recession has resulted in job loss, a credit crunch, and a housing crisis," Hare said. "We cannot allow federal student loans to become the economy's next victim."
The bipartisan Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act would build confidence in the current market by providing new protections to ensure that families continue to have timely, uninterrupted access to federal college loans in the event lenders are forced to reduce their activity in the program. "Too often, the federal government waits until an emergency occurs before taking action," Hare said. "This proactive approach will help keep student loans within reach for working families."
Specifically, it would reduce borrowers' reliance on costlier private college loans by increasing the annual limit on federal college loans by $2,000 for undergraduate students. It would also give parent borrowers more time to begin paying off their federal loans by providing them with the option to defer repayment until up to six months after their children leave school. Finally, it would help struggling homeowners pay for college by making sure that short-term delinquencies in mortgage payments don't prohibit otherwise eligible parents from being able to obtain federal loans.
"Access to a quality college education is often times the ticket to future success," Hare said. "Any student that wants to pursue a degree should be able to do so, regardless of their economic background."
Last year, Hare supported and the President signed legislation that would increase the Pell Grant and cut the interest rate on subsidized student loans in half, benefiting hundreds of thousands of student borrowers in Illinois.