Higgins fights to keep college student loan rates lowby jmaloni
Interest rates set to double on July 1 if Congress doesn't act
Congressman Brian Higgins, NY-26, is urging leadership in the House of Representatives to act quickly to prevent college student loan rates from doubling. The current interest rate under the Federal Direct Student Loan Program is 3.4 percent. That number is expected to increase to 6.8 percent on July 1, unless preventative action is taken.
Higgins took his call for action to the House Floor, delivering the following remarks:
"Unless Congress takes action, student loan rates will double on July 1.
"This is unacceptable. Access to affordable education is one of the most important issues to young people today, yet many graduates find themselves tens of thousands of dollars in debt as they leave school and try to enter the workforce.
"In New York state, 60 percent of college students graduate with some debt, averaging $27,000.
"Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to sign the discharge petition by Rep. Joe Courtney, H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act, along with over 180 of my colleagues. This legislation would freeze the interest rate at its current 3.4 percent for the next two years.
"It's time for Republican leadership to acknowledge the urgency of this legislation and bring it to the Floor. All Americans deserve a fair shot at a good and affordable education."
Higgins is a cosponsor of H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act, which would extend the current interest rate of 3.4 percent on undergraduate students through July 1, 2015. He is also among more than 180 members of the House signing a discharge petition aimed at forcing a vote on the bill. Once a discharge petition is signed by a majority of members - 218 in the House - the bill is discharged from committee and brought to the House Floor for a vote.
With college loans totaling $27,000 on average for New York state students, the higher rate of 6.8 percent would force graduates to pay an additional $5,400 in interest.
More information on federal student aid is available at: www.studentloans.gov.