by Karl Stark | April 25, 2012
President Obama appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show last night to slow jam his message about college affordability, but behind the laughter there was a very serious message: On July 1, more than 7.4 million students with federal student loans will see their interest rates double unless Congress acts.
Those rates – which will double to 6.8 percent – will saddle students and/or their parents with an additional $1,000 in debt this year, on average, and for each year Congress allows the rates to double.
Unfortunately, some in Congress are out of touch about the burden this would cause for working students and middle class families.
Well, there is one reason for it: the Ryan Republican Budget. College costs have been on the rise for decades, with the typical college tuition tripling in the last 30 years.
By voting for the Ryan Republican budget, Representative Foxx and her colleagues are trying to make college even less affordable. The Ryan Republican budget could eliminate Pell Grants for more than 1 million students and it slashes work-study funding that could affect hundreds of thousands of students. This is the same budget that gave millionaires $394,000 in tax cuts.
Just looking at the unemployment rates for high school and college graduates shows how valuable a college education is, especially during the current economic downturn. According to the Department of Labor’s recent jobs report, 4.3 percent of college graduates are currently unemployed, compared with 10.5 percent of those with only a high school diploma. Additionally, the wage difference between college-educated adults and high school graduates has tripled from 75 percent in 1979 to 230 percent in 2003. Given the benefit a college degree provides for a worker or a family, Congress should be acting to make college more affordable, not less.
Today, Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) unveiled a bill to prevent the interest rate hike on student loans: the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike of 2012.
Urge your members of Congress to prevent the interest rate hike on Twitter using #DontDoubleMyRate, and watch the video here: