Obama aims to keep student loan rates
United States President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are pushing for legislation that would maintain the current interest rate of many student loans.
The rate on subsidized Stafford loans is set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, according to an article on Yahoo news.
“The rate hike would be really unfair to those students who have those loans,” junior sociology and criminal justice major Matthew Pudinski said. “It just adds more stresses on them after they graduate.”
Duncan held a press conference from the White House Friday, and said the rate hike would put a squeeze on college graduates who have started to pay back what they borrowed, but are unable to find a job in the tough economy.
“We have an immediate crisis, so let’s fix this right now,” he said, according to the Yahoo story. “We have to educate our way to a better economy. We know the jobs of the future are going to go to those folks with some higher education. And so to not do this together just doesn’t make any sense.”
The push for the legislation comes on the heels of the latest polls that show Obama is leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in college student popularity 60 percent to 34 percent.
“I’ve always believed that we should be doing everything we can to help put higher education within reach for every single American student, because the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average,” Obama said in a conference call to college reporters. “And it’s never been more important.”
Unfortunately, it’s also never been more expensive. Students who take out loans to pay for college graduates owe an average of $25,000 a year. And I know what this is like, because when Michelle [Obama] and I graduated from college and law school, we had enormous debts, and it took us a lot of years to pay off.”
The loans that students owe are becoming increasingly harder to pay off because students are unable to find jobs.
A recent report released by the Associated Press showed that 53.6 percent of students who graduate with a Bachelor’s degree are either jobless or underemployed.
“If Congress doesn’t act on July 1, interest rates on Stafford loans, on student loans from the federal government, will double,” Obama said. “Nearly 7.5 million students will end up owing more on their loan payments. And that would be, obviously, a tremendous blow.”
And it’s completely preventable. “