Letter to the Senate on the Student Loan Affordability Act
May 23, 2013
On behalf of the more than 3 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we offer our support of The Student Loan Affordability Act of 2013 (S. 953), put forth by Senators Reed (D-RI), Harkin (D-IA) and Reid (D-NV).
S. 953 will freeze the student loan interest rate on federally subsidized loans at the current rate of 3.4% for the next two years. This important action would protect the nearly 7 million students who need student loans to make college affordable. Also, the two-year extension allows Congress time to take a reasonable and measured look at the parabolic rise in student debt and to ensure college affordability as work is being done towards reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.
The rise in the cost of postsecondary education has been prodigious. To make a college education a real possibility, approximately 60% of students must take out loans. Last year the total amount of borrowing eclipsed the $1 trillion mark. Of our nation’s 37 million students with outstanding debt, 35% are behind on their loans; a number which will only grow with the cost of borrowing. Adding to their 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 growth. The need for passage of S.953 could not be more evident.
Educators believe every student who wishes to pursue higher education should be able to realize that dream, regardless of ability to pay. These students are our future educators, doctors, nurses, engineers and scientists. They are the next generation of innovators who will drive our country and our economy forward. We owe it to them and ourselves to make sure their dreams are attainable.
Director, Government Relations