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Public Statements

Smarter Solutions for Students Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker. I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1911, the Making College More Expensive Act. This misguided bill would actually increase the cost of student loans and make it harder for graduates to escape the crushing burden of college debt.

It is a matter of critical national interest that we ensure our colleges and universities are turning out a well-educated, highly-qualified workforce. Unfortunately, the ever-increasing cost of tuition is creating a permanently indebted generation of graduates who are too often paying off crippling debt instead of building fulfilling careers that will increase their financial mobility and our country's economic competitiveness.

We should be working together to solve this looming crisis. Regrettably, this partisan measure makes college more expensive by tying student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note, plus an additional 2.5 to 4.5 percent, and prevents students from locking in a fixed rate. Since these rates will reset every year, by the time next year's freshmen graduate, they will be paying more than double today's current rate for subsidized Stafford loans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this will produce an extra $3.4 billion in federal revenue, meaning the government will be profiting off the extra debt students incur. I find this completely unacceptable.

That is why I am a cosponsor of a bill, introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney, to extend the current rate of 3.4 percent on Stafford loans for an additional two years. Rather than waging another partisan fight on a bill that will not pass the Senate and the President is prepared to veto, we should consider legislation that has a real chance of becoming law and that will provide real relief to students and their families. What we have before us today is a bait-and-switch scheme, promising benefits that cannot be realized for another four years and that can in no way be guaranteed.

As part of the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, we should take on student loans as part of a comprehensive effort to address student debt, college affordability and the financial aid system as a whole. We can take advantage of today's historically low rates without making empty promises to college students.


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