Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) recently joined Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) and over 60 of his colleagues in introducing legislation to stop student loan interest rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013. The bill, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013, would lock in the lower interest rate until July 1, 2015.
"The path to the American Dream runs through college campuses across this nation," said Walz. "As teacher and a parent, I know how critical a high-quality education is to our country's economic future and I also know how much anxiety middle class families feel about the rising cost of college."
In 2007, Representative Walz supported the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which made historic investments in the future of our country. The law halved interest rates on need-based Stafford student loans to 3.4 percent-- making them more affordable for low and middle-income students. If Congress doesn't act before July, the rate will jump back up to 6.8 percent, making it much more difficult for hard working students and middle class families to afford a college education.
Walz continued, "Allowing interest rates to double will make college more expensive and it will make the American Dream for over 200,000 Minnesota students that much harder to realize."
Students at Minnesota public and private universities currently graduate with an average debt load of nearly $30,000--the third highest in the county. If Congress doesn't act by July 1, the average student would see their debt load increase by about $1,000 per year of school.
"We should be encouraging higher education, not creating hurdles to it. Congress needs to take immediate action to keep students in the classroom and to keep interest rates low," added Walz.