Rep. Green Statement on Student Loan Interest Rate Doubling

Jun 28, 2013 Issues: Education

Washington, DC – With only three days left until student loan interest rates double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st, Congressman Gene Green was proud to support H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013, by signing Rep. Joe Courtney’s discharge petition to bring the bill before the full House for consideration.

As of Thursday, June 27, 196 Members had signed on to the discharge petition for Rep. Courtney’s bill, still 22 shy of the 218 needed to bring the bill to the floor.

The Joint Economic Committee’s June 2013 report, “Causes and Consequences of Increasing Student Debt,” found the following data for the state of Texas:

•    Average Debt: $22,600
•    Percent with Debt: 56%
•    Annualized Average Weekly Earnings (graduates under age 30): $49,112
•    Ratio of Debt to Annualized Earnings: 46%
•    Percent of Student Loan Borrowers with Accounts 90+ Days Delinquent  (borrowers under age 30): 19.7%

The report also found that as of the first quarter of 2013, workers with a bachelor’s degree earned 68% more than workers with only a high school diploma.

Rep. Green submitted a statement for the record, asserting:

I rise today in support of extending the 3.4 interest rate on Stafford Student loans to protect students from seeing their interest rates double on July 1, 2013. As the cost of higher education continues to climb and total student loan debt eclipsed credit card debt for the first time, the consequences of inaction are unacceptable. We need to be making college more affordable for all students, not putting it further out of reach.

As an advanced degree becomes more and more of a requirement for well paying jobs, it is vital that low interest loans be available so that students can access an affordable college education. Approximately 60 percent of students take out loans to attend college and increasing the cost of borrowing will prevent millions from being able to obtain a degree.

H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013, is a clean extension that would freeze the 3.4 interest rate on Stafford loans for two years. I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation to prevent a crippling hike in rates and give Congress time to find a true long-term solution to student loans and college affordability that is worthy of our nation’s young people.

A strong middle-class, well educated workforce and the opportunity for upward mobility are the building blocks of a thriving economy. To maintain and strengthen each, every student must have the opportunity to pursue higher education, not just the privileged few.

College educated students are the future engine of our country, and anyone who wants to pursue a post-secondary education should have the opportunity to do so without going into crushing debt. I urge my colleagues to stop rates from doubling and extend the current interest rate of 3.4 percent.

A full copy of the JEC report can be found here.

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