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Letter to Senate on Student Loan Bills

May 24, 2012

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to offer our views on the Interest Rate Reduction Act (S. 2366), and the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act (S. 2343), both of which would extend student loan interest rates for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans. 

We commend the Senate 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 divisive offsets.  We believe this issue is best addressed by asking corporations to pay their fair share, not by slashing funding for critical health prevention or other programs serving those who have already been asked to sacrifice so much.  We urge Senators to vote in support of S. 2343, which would pay for keeping interest rates low by closing corporate tax loopholes. 

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 Interest Rate Reduction Act 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 is 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. Therefore, we support and urge passage of the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act, which takes such an approach.   

We look forward to continuing to work 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