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Letter to the House of Representatives supporting the College Student Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 5)

January 16, 2007

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge your support for the College Student Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 5), scheduled for floor consideration this week. This important legislation would cut the current interest rates on subsidized undergraduate student loans in half — a critical first step in reducing the college debt that burdens millions of students. Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.   

Higher educational opportunities allow individuals to succeed in jobs with career potential and upward mobility. Federal student loan programs provide critical access to postsecondary education to low- and middle-income students and their families. Unfortunately, with college costs on the rise, more students have to take out greater loans to cover their tuition and other college costs, while incurring record student debt. In 2003-04, the median student debt borrowed to finance a bachelor's degree was $19,300.

H.R. 5 will help ease some of the burden students face by phasing in interest rate cuts over five years for undergraduate borrowers of new subsidized student loans from a fixed rate of 6.8 percent to a fixed rate of 3.4 percent. Once fully phased in, the interest rate cut is estimated to help ease the financial burden of more than 5.5 million undergraduate students. 

We urge your support for this important legislation.


Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Policy and Politics