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Letter to the Senate on the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238)

June 27, 2013

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we urge you to support and join the 38 co-sponsors of the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013  (S. 1238), introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). To allow time to develop a long-term solution, this bill would roll back and freeze the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent for a year; under current law, the rate doubles to 6.8 percent on July 1. Votes on this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress. 

It is unconscionable to balance the budget on the backs of low- and middle-income students struggling to pay for college, as other proposals under consideration would do. Making post-secondary education affordable for students and families is essential for our nation’s future:  

  • Some 60 percent of students must borrow to attend college—increasing borrowing costs will make it impossible for some to pursue higher education.
  •  Adding to the student loan debt burden will not only harm students, it will adversely affect America’s economy—those who face crushing debt cannot buy homes or cars, start businesses, support families, or invest, invent, innovate or otherwise contribute to economic growth.
     
  • Total student debt passed the $1 trillion mark last year—already, 35 percent of our nation’s 37 million students are behind on their loan payments, a number that will only grow if interest rates and the cost of borrowing rise. 

Educators believe all students who wish to do so should be able to pursue higher education and their dreams, regardless of ability to pay. Today’s students are tomorrow’s educators, doctors, nurses, engineers, and scientists—the next generation of innovators who will drive our country and our economy forward. We owe them a shot at fulfilling their dreams.

We urge you to support S. 1238 to keep student loan rates—which double to 6.8 percent four days from now—at 3.4 percent.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations