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(L to R) Max Page, PHENOM; Andre Martins, Emerson College; Ferd Wulkan, Mass Society of Professors; Lizzi Weyant, MASSPIRG; Dexter McCoy, Boston University
Boston, MA—Advocates pushing for an extension of existing student loan interest rates held a math lesson outside of Senator Scott Brown’s office today.
“Senator Scott Brown has expressed his commitment to affordable higher education. But on Tuesday he voted to block a Senate bill that would have extended existing student loan interest rates,” said Lizzi Weyant, staff attorney at MASSPIRG. “Bay State students can’t afford for him not to vote the right way.”
A 2007 college affordability plan made federal student loans more manageable in repayment, in particularly by gradually decreasing the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans from 6.8% to 3.4%. Right now, 63% of Massachusetts graduates carry student loan debt. Without a new plan, over 161,000 students in Massachusetts will see their loan rates double, incurring a collective $165 million in new debt.
“In a time when each and every dime counts, we cannot afford any increase in the amount that our college education is going to cost us in the long run,” said Dexter McCoy, student body president at Boston University. “Congress needs to stop playing political warfare. Enough is enough,” concluded McCoy.
Student loan debt recently surpassed credit card debt as the top form of consumer debt in the country, at $1 trillion dollars. The vast majority of student loans made are federal. The average student loan borrower in Massachusetts carries over $25,000 in student loan debt.
“This bill is critically important. It ensures that students and families who are struggling with tight family finances, a lackluster job market, and rising tuition costs can still afford to go to college,” said Weyant. “Senator Brown has said that he is committed for affordable to higher education. We’re counting on him to rise to the head of the class and to preserve existing student loan interest rates.”
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