130,000 Letters Tell Congress: Don’t Double Student Debt Rates

Time is running out. On July 1, student loan interest rates for nearly eight million students will double.

Without a new plan, the average subsidized Stafford loan borrower will pay $2,800 more by the time they repay their loans. The most needy students will pay a crushing $5,000 more on their student loan than they otherwise would.

This blow comes as student loan debt officially eclipses all credit card debt, surpassing the $1 trillion mark. This is because more students are borrowing loans — and they are borrowing more of them. Over the past decade, the number of students taking out loans to pay for college has grown from less than one-half to two-thirds and the amount of student loan debt those graduates now hold has more than doubled from $12,000 to $25,000.

With college costs rising, struggling family finances and an uncertain job market for graduates, the last things we should do is let student loan interest rates double.

That’s why students from across the country descended onto the Capitol this month to announce the collection and delivery of over 130,000 letters to Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this summer.President Obama used his State of the Union and budget to propose keeping these interest rates low this coming year.

We agree. We applaud President Obama for his proposal to keep loan rates low and invest in Pell grants to prevent students from needing to borrow as much. Now it’s Congress’ turn to keep student loan interest rates from doubling and fund other important student aid programs like Pell grants.