McCaskill Continues Fight to Keep College Loans Affordable
Senator takes 2nd vote to protect Missouri students and prevent doubling of student loan interest rates
May 25, 2012
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill continued her fight today to keep college loans affordable by preventing a doubling of federal interest rates, arguing that access to an affordable education is tied directly to ensuring Americans can compete for the jobs of the 21st century.
"With the July 1st deadline quickly approaching, now is not the time to play politics with our kids' and grandkids' educational opportunities," McCaskill said. "I hear from Missouri students every day that are worried about how these rate hikes, and the extra debt that would mean, will affect their access to college, and their job prospects."
If Congress does not act by July 1, student loan interest rates for new Stafford subsidized loans, currently capped at 3.4 percent, would double. Missouri will be home to more than 160,000 student borrowers in the 2012-2013 school year, and a doubling of federal student loan interest rates to 6.8 percent would increase interest payments made by Missouri students and families by more than $129 million in the next school year alone.
Today's proposal was the second vote this month McCaskill supported in order to keep interest rates at their current levels without adding to the national deficit. The measure again failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to advance. McCaskill, who waited tables to pay her way through college and law school, said that college costs today are already too high and pledged to continue her fight for access to education for Missouri's families.
McCaskill has been an outspoken advocate for access to education, voting in 2010 to cut out for-profit big banks from the student process, putting loans directly in the hands of students and their families. This change freed up more than $61 billion used to cut the national deficit and provide a needed boost in Pell Grants.
During her first year in office, McCaskill helped pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which made college more affordable for Missouri families by boosting Pell Grants, cutting interest rates on college loans to 3.4 percent, providing loan forgiveness for students who spend ten years in public service, and opening up TEACH Grants for undergraduates who commit to teaching in high-need districts.
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