This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future.
Congress to students: Celebrate the 4th! Student loan rates just doubled!
The June 30 deadline for action by Congress came and went. In a shocker, Republicans obstructed efforts to keep student loan rates from doubling. Now is the time to call your senators and representatives and raise a ruckus. Republicans insist that the country make a profit off of the students, but how does it help a country and an economy to make it so expensive to get a higher education?
Bob Borosage explains in Student Loans: Gouge The Kids:
Interest rates on student loans will double to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress acts. But it seems increasingly likely that the Congress will take off for the Fourth of July recess without addressing the problem. The major sticking point: Republicans in the House and Senate insist on gouging the kids to help reduce the deficit.
Republicans want student loan rates to double to “market rates” plus a bit more, so the government can make a profit from the loans. They say that if government helps students even a little bit on interest rates—never mind paying for college—it is “government spending” and therefore must not happen. Of course, in a democracy “government spending” is by definition things We the People decide to do to make our lives better. But that gets in the way of the 1 percent having even more fabulous wealth, so.…
This debate will start again next week. Members of Congress should get a fierce response as they arrive home for the July 4 break.
Does It Matter What The Public Wants?
Public Policy Polling has recently found:
- 83 percent of Americans want student loan rates to stay the same or be lowered.
- 41 percent want them to be lowered to 0.75 percent, the same rate big banks pay for overnight loans.
- 86 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents want action taken on this issue.
- 74 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for their representative if they let rates rise.
- 52 percent would be more likely to vote for them if they lowered rates.
- 60 percent of Democrats are more likely to vote for their representative if they lowered rates, 50 percent of Republicans.
- 2:1 in support of passing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bill to lower student interest rates to 0.75 percent; including 65 percent of Democrats and, 56 percent of Republicans.
Simple answers to simple questions: So far it hasn’t mattered a whit what the public wants.
Actions To Take
There are things you can do to let your senators and representatives know that you want student loan rates cut, not doubled:
Enter your phone number. We’ll call you back and automatically connect you to one of your senators. Tell him or her to vote against any bill that raises student loan rates.
Sign your name: Let students borrow at the same rate as the banks.
In less than one month, debt-saddled students will be socked with higher loan rates unless Congress acts. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a commonsense solution: Give students the same loan rates the Federal Reserve gives the banks.
Join Daily Kos and Campaign for America’s Future and send a message to Congress.
Research assistance for this post was provided by Jane Yurechko.