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

July 09, 2013

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we urge you to vote YES on the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013  (S. 1238), scheduled for a vote tomorrow. The bill would reverse the doubling of the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans that occurred last week and fix it at 3.4 percent for a year to allow time to develop a long-term solution. 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 roll back and keep student loan rates at 3.4 percent for a year to allow time to develop a long-term solution. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations