Republicans Play Politics With Student Loans
Student loan interest rates for millions of borrowers across the country will double on July 1st unless Congress intervenes. After voting for a budget that would allow the rate hike to take place, Republicans are now trying to sabotage a Democratic effort to prevent the rate hike by insisting that it come at a cost to the health of middle class Americans. This is a time to help college students, not a time to fight old political battles over health care.
Republican Politics Could Have Serious Consequences For Students Across the Country
Interest rates on federally-subsidized Stafford loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st, 2012. Unless Republicans join Democrats to prevent this increase, the rate hike will:
- Make college even more expensive when, over the past decade, the average in-state cost at a 4-year public school has increased at an average rate of 5.6% above inflation.
Republicans Are Not Serious About Preventing The Student Loan Interest Hike
Instead of working with Democrats to prevent the interest rate hike in a responsible manner, Republicans are instead looking to play political games by pitting student borrowers against women, children, and low-income families by resuming their failed efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Senate Republicans pay for their proposal through a change to ACA that would recover health insurance subsidy payments and cause 350,000 people to lose health coverage, jeopardizing the ability of families to access lifesaving medical treatment.
- House Republicans pay for their proposal by slashing critical preventive health services, including childhood immunizations and investments to reduce diabetes and heart disease - heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the country.
Allowing student loan interest rates to double is only one way that the Republican budget makes it more difficult for middle-class students to afford a college degree. Their budget also:
- Cuts Pell grants, reducing the amount of assistance by nearly $3 billion and kicking 400,000 students off of the program next year alone;
Instead of playing politics with student loans, Republicans should join Democrats in passing the "Stop the Student Loan Rate Hike Act," a common-sense measure that will prevent he student loan increase for an additional school year, without adding to the deficit. The Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike will prevent a rate hike on nearly 7.4 million college students, and pay for it by closing a millionaire tax loophole that allows certain wealthy professionals to evade paying their fair share of taxes. According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, "closing this loophole will actually help most small businesses, which are currently subsidizing the minority who abuse it to avoid payroll taxes."