By Mel Fabrikant
Continuing his efforts to fight to control college education costs and allow Americans to keep more of the money they earn, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.(D-NJ) today called upon U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) to co-sponsor H.R. 3826. The legislation would keep the fixed interest rate on Stafford student loans from doubling on July 1.
Rep. Pascrell became a co-sponsor of the bill on March 29. There are now 145 co-sponsors of H.R. 3826.
"There is a ticking time bomb tied to student loan rates and many of us have responded to the call to follow President Obama's lead in the fight to keep Stafford student loan rates from doubling this year," said Pascrell, a former educator and current member of the House Ways and Means Committee and of the Budget Committee. "When the President called for action to help keep huge chunks of college graduates' paychecks from being swallowed by their student loans 145 members of Congress jumped into action but Steve Rothman is, again, nowhere to be found. Congressman Rothman must stop hesitating to do the right thing for the American people, and join myself and the other members of Congress who understand that there is no time to waste on this critical issue. Mr. Rothman, your President is calling. Don't turn your back on him again."
In 2007, Congress passed legislation that reduced the fixed rate on subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduate students from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over a four year period. However, unless this law is renewed, subsidized Stafford loan rates will double later this year, returning to the previous 6.8 percent rate.
The higher interest rate would mean a student who borrows the maximum $23,000 in subsidized loans would pay an additional $5,200 in interest over a 10-year repayment period or $11,300 over a 20-year repayment period. The legislation will keep Stafford loan rates at the current 3.4 percent interest rate.
Rep. Pascrell worked in Paramus as a public high school history teacher for 12 years, and also worked as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickenson University in Teaneck. Before he was elected to public office, one of Rep. Pascrell's first public initiatives was a successful effort to urge state and local officials to establish Passaic County Community College in downtown Paterson. The point was to make the college's educational opportunities available to the greatest number of people possible.