San Jose, CA – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) joined students and university officials today during a rally at San Jose State University in urging the Republican-controlled Congress to keep interest rates low on student loans. Speaking at the student-led rally, Rep. Lofgren said a lack of action to prevent loan rates from doubling in July will place a hefty price tag on local students and families who must borrow to attend college.
"California leads the nation in rising college costs with a 21% jump in tuition rates last year and low loan interest rates, Pell Grants and tax credits have helped shield many students pursuing their dreams of a higher education. If interest rates for college students double to 6.8 percent, more than 572,000 students across California will pay an additional $476 million in interest just to go to school," said Rep. Lofgren. "At San Jose State University, 8,420 undergraduates rely upon $34.7 million in direct subsidized Stafford loan programs to help pay for their college education. This is not the time to make cuts and raise barriers to a college education if we are going to keep our economy innovative and competitive in the 21st Century."
"The cost of education continues to increase and this issue is very important to the more than 8,400 San Jose State University students who rely on these loans," said Calvin Worsnup, incoming President of the San Jose State University Associated Students. "That's why students are speaking up to have our voices heard that this isn't the time to double interest rates on student loans."
Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, the Democratic-led Congress made historic investments in student aid. The law brought interest rates on need-based federal student loans down to 3.4 percent, making these loans more affordable for low- and middle-income students. Rep. Lofgren supports legislation, H.R. 3826 and H.R. 4170, that extends the 3.4 percent interest rate for need-based federal student loans. If Congress doesn't act before July, the rate will jump up to 6.8 percent, and more than 7 million students nationwide will incur an additional $6.3 billion in repayment costs for the 2012 – 2013 academic school year.