Betty S Sutton

Lowering Student Loan Interest Rates - Jan. 17, 2007

Betty S Sutton
January 17, 2007— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Mr. Speaker.

I rise in strong support of H.R. 5 to cut interest rates on student loans for 5.5 million of our students most in need of financial assistance.

This cut is vital because there is nothing more important than ensuring our students are well prepared to enter our nation’s workforce.

Many students in our nation lack access to an affordable higher education and this should be considered nothing less than a crisis.

While access to higher education has become more critical for our younger generation, the cost is rapidly moving out of reach for many low- and middle-class families.

Tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities have risen 41 percent – after inflation – since 2001.

The typical American student now graduates from college with $17,500 in debt.

This Congress should be ashamed that financial barriers will prevent at least 4.4 million high school graduates from attending a 4-year public college over the next decade.

Costs will also prevent another 2 million high school graduates from attending any college at all.

Amazingly, instead of helping our students prepare themselves for a better future, Republicans have cut funding for student loan programs.

Our proposal to cut student loan rates in half will help roughly 175,000 students in the State of Ohio at institutions like the University of Akron and Lorain Community College.

Starting this year it is estimated that these students will save over $2,200 over the life of their loan.

And that savings number is expected to increase to over $4,300 starting in 2011.

Mr. Speaker, investment in our younger generations not only helps their future, but it helps our economy and our retired workers whom they will support.

Cutting interest rates on student loans is not only about strengthening America’s middle class and improving access to higher education for our students and families who are most in need… it’s about strengthening America.

Education is the backbone of what we are about and everything that makes our nation great.

Let’s pass H.R. 5 and give our students the assistance they deserve.

Thank you.

Speech from, August 28, 2007.