House Votes to Make Student Loans Much More Affordable
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) voiced her strong support for H.R. 5, The College Student Relief Act, which will cut federal student loan interest rates in half over the next five years. Maloney voted to approve the measure, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 356 - 71.
H.R. 5 will save New Yorkers who start school this year an average of $2,360 over the life of their federal student loans. New Yorkers who start school in 2011, when H.R. 5's interest rate cuts would be fully phased in, would save an average of $4,570.
“This bill will help thousands of New York families cope with skyrocketing college costs,” said Rep. Maloney. “In the first few days of this Congress, we’ve already done more to expand access to higher education than the Republicans did in the last six years.”
“High costs are the #1 reason students drop out of college or fail to go at all,” Maloney added. “Giving our students a break is good for families and it’s good for our economy, too.”
In July 2006, the GOP-controlled Congress raised interest rates on federal student loans to their highest point in 16 years, from 5.3% to 6.8% --costing the average college graduate $2,500 more in interest payments. The bill approved today not only reverses this increase, it cuts student loan rates even further, to 3.4% by 2011.
Last September, Rep. Maloney, Rep. Anthony Weiner and five of their House colleagues released a report showing that the average annual cost of attending SUNY and CUNY schools increased more than 30% between 2001 and 2006, from $3,766 to $4,895 per year.
Yesterday afternoon, Rep. Maloney spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 5. The full text of Maloney’s remarks follows:
Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5, the College Student Relief Act of 2007.
This bill will help make college more affordable and accessible by cutting the interest rates in half on certain subsidized student loans over the next five years.
Studies show the #1 reason students fail to attend college, or are forced to drop out of college prior to graduation, is cost.
In recent years, tuition and fees have skyrocketed across our country, making college less affordable and making it ever more difficult for families to send their children to college.
Since the 2000-2001 school year, tuition and fees at public universities have increased by an astounding 41 percent after inflation and by 17 percent at private universities.
Compounding this problem is that interest rates on student loans have also increased. Over the last five years, the interest rate on students loans have increased by almost 2 percentage points.
In July of last year I released a report with several of my New York Colleagues on the impact of the growing cost of college on New York City residents.
This study is available on my website, www.maloney.house.gov, and it showed that when the interest rates on federal Stafford Loans were raised in July, to the highest point in 16 years, from 5.3% to 6.8%. It will cost the average college graduate attending a New York City or State College $2,500 more in interest payments.
The report also showed that an average graduate in New York State leaves college $17,594 in debt. Under today's bill, that same student would save $5,662 in interest payments over the life of his or her loans.
Overall, when this bill goes into effect, it will save money for 5.5 million students across the country, while still meeting our pay-as-you-go requirements.
I commend Speaker Pelosi and Chairman George Miller for bringing this bill before us today and I urge all of my colleagues to give our nation's students a break and cut the cost of their tuition.