Mr. SIRES. Madam Speaker, access to affordable higher education is one of the reasons that our country is so great. As someone who lives in the gateway to America, I have seen firsthand the transformational power of education. However, access to higher education is now being threatened.
In less than 2 weeks, the interest rate for student loans is scheduled to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. This will make it extremely burdensome for students and families with limited financial resources to attend college. Just in the past 10 years, college tuition has increased by 28 percent. Middle class families are struggling to send their sons and daughters to school.
For many Americans, a college education is essential to future success. Over a lifetime, it is estimated that a college graduate makes an average of $2.27 million. In contrast, those with only a high school diploma are estimated to make $1.3 million.
The clock is ticking and we must act now. Congress should not block access to affordable education. Let us work together to keep student loan interest rates low.