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Letter to the House on Student Loan Bill

April 27, 2012

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to offer our views on H.R. 4628, which would extend student loan interest rates for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans.  We commend the House for seeking to address the looming student loan interest rate hike and we greatly appreciate that there is consensus that we must avert it.  We are concerned however, that this unity for support of our nation’s students could be lost due to a divisive offset.  In addition, we have concerns about the underlying substance of the proposed offset.  We strongly urge Congress to look for ways to meet such pressing national needs by ensuring that corporations pay their fair share of taxes.  We, therefore, cannot support the bill with its current offset. 

We are very pleased that the student loan interest rate increase is on the front burner in Congress.  With interest rates set to double July 1, millions of students are facing an additional burden that may put college out of reach.  The average student will face an additional one thousand dollars in debt if the interest rate is allowed to increase.  Adding to the student loan debt burden will not only harm students, but will impact our economy, as those who face crushing debt cannot buy homes or cars, start businesses or support families, or invest, invent, innovate or otherwise contribute to economic recovery.   

Unfortunately, the proposal before the House this week would address the student loan issue by repealing critical funding provided under the Affordable Care Act.  The Prevention and Public Health Fund provides investment in proven prevention and public health programs that can help keep Americans healthy and ultimately lead to reduced health care costs.  

We believe that it would be more appropriate and less harmful to offset the costs of keeping the student loan rate low by closing tax loopholes that allow large corporations to avoid contributing their fair share to their communities and our nation. We look forward to working with Congress to find an appropriate solution to the student loan crisis. 

Sincerely, 

Kim Anderson
Director, Center for Advocacy

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations