Republicans In Congress Hike The Cost Of Education For Poorest Students
• Jared Polis (New Dem-CO)Immediately after the vote Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) asked the question, Why are Republicans trying to make it more costly to attend college?
• Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
• Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL)
• Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)
Students who work hard to get a college education should not be saddled with a lifetime of crushing debt. The latest Republican proposal would make getting a college education more expensive. College education is already too expensive. Why are Republicans trying to make it more costly to attend college?No one wants to talk about it, but Republicans would like to drive the children of working class households-- particularly children of color from working class households-- off the college path and into menial labor and trades. It's the Republican Party policy everyone knows about but no one mentions out loud. They're even willing to sacrifice the future of lower middle class white kids to accomplish their goal. Donna Edwards (D-MD) skirted the ugly truth yesterday after the vote, pointing out that "the Republican Majority introduced legislation which, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, would in fact make college more expensive for students and parents than if Congress did nothing. The bill would set variable interest rates for student loans tied to 10-year Treasury notes +2.5 percent for Stafford and +4.5 percent for PLUS loans. Under the Republican bill, students who borrow the maximum amount of subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans over five years would pay nearly $2,000 more in interest costs than if interest rates doubled. The bill passed the House by a vote of 221-198."
In June, the student loan interest rate will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. Under the Republican ‘fix,’ when next year’s college freshmen start repaying their loans after they graduate, the interest rate on their college loan is projected to be 7.4%. Meanwhile, the world’s biggest banks borrow money from the government at an interest rate of 1% or lower.
We should be helping students go to college. We shouldn’t charge students more to borrow for college than we charge banks. We support Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) and Rep. John Tierney’s (D-MA) bill to tie the student loan interest rate to the current Federal Reserve lending rate.
Education continues to be the gateway to the American Dream. At a time when more and more of our nation’s wealth goes to corporate profits instead of middle class wages, the Republican scheme continues handouts to Wall Street at millions of students’ expense.”
“America’s families simply cannot afford the Republican solution to student loan rates. That is why I proposed two amendments to reduce the cap for Stafford and PLUS loans, and further reduce the cap for Stafford loans for students pursuing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Our economy requires that we curtail unaffordable student loan debt while incentivizing students to join a workforce that will ensure the United States’ competitiveness in the 21st century. Republicans rejected both these ideas, but I urge them to reconsider as Congress works towards a long-term higher education bill.But that's the point. Republicans don't want more Donna Edwardses rising up and championing the interests of working families. Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz: "The life chances of a young American are more dependent on the income and education of their parents than in other industrial countries... Students are being squeezed. Incomes are down, and tuition is going up. They don't qualify for Pell Grants, and their parents really have no way to pay tuition at most schools." He backs Warren's bill to lower the cost of student borrowing.
“My decision to attend Wake Forest University then law school came at a cost of $100,000, a quarter of that was a result of interest and service fees. I understand personally that we need a short and long-term solution to college affordability, but it is irresponsible to, at a time when a college education is more important and expensive than ever, to place more of a burden on our students and parents.”
The White House released a statement just before the vote suggesting President Obama would veto the bill if it ever makes it to his desk. "Under the President's proposal, the rate on new Federal student loans would be set each year based on the Treasury's actual cost of borrowing, and would remain fixed for the life of the loan so that borrowers would have certainty about the rates they would pay. The President's proposal also would expand the 'Pay As You Earn' repayment option to ensure that no student borrower is required to pay more than ten percent of his or her discretionary income on student loans. "While the Administration welcomes action by the House on this issue, H.R. 1911 is the wrong approach. First, the bill would not guarantee low rates for today's students. A rate that continues to vary after the loan has already been taken out would create uncertainty and lessen transparency for students and their families who are making decisions about borrowing for college. Second, the bill's changes would impose the largest interest rate increases on low‑ and middle‑income students and families who struggle most to afford a college education. Third, the bill does not include the President's proposal to extend repayment options to borrowers who have already left school and often face the same debt burdens as current and future students. Finally, the Administration believes that student loan interest rates should not be raised to reduce the deficit. If the President were presented with this legislation in its current form, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.