SHAHEEN: DON’T DOUBLE STUDENT LOAN RATES

Urges bipartisan action to prevent federal subsidized student loan rates from doubling this summer, adding $30 million to NH student debt

May 02, 2012

(Keene, NH) – New Hampshire students could face more than $30 million in increased student loan costs if Congress does not find a bipartisan solution that prevents interest rates from doubling on federally subsidized student loans, Senator Jeanne Shaheen said today at Keene State College. New Hampshire has the highest average student debt in the nation.

Interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans are set to increase from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, which will add an average of $1,000 to the debt of more than 7.4 million students when they graduate college. There are almost 38,000 students in New Hampshire with subsidized Stafford Loans who could be affected, and they would pay an additional $30.5 million dollars combined.

“Keene State does a great job of trying to assist students in need, but they can’t do it alone,” Shaheen said. “Keeping college affordable is crucial to ensuring our workforce has the skills to compete in a global economy. We need to come together in a bipartisan way to keep these rates low.”

“We welcome Senator Shaheen to our campus for this very important and timely discussion.  Student debt load and interest rates are of rising concern across the nation, and particularly in New Hampshire, as state support for public education has continued to drop,” said Keene State College Vice President for Finance and Planning, Jay Kahn.  “Keene State College has a history of making quality higher education accessible and affordable for students.  We are grateful for this opportunity to discuss student debt with a decision-maker in Washington, as the national debate continues.”

New Hampshire has the highest average student college debt in the nation at $31,408 per student. The Granite State ranks second in the nation when it comes to the number of college students with debt: 74 percent.

Senator Shaheen has long worked to increase college affordability. She supported education reforms in 2010 that increased the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 to help low-income students go to college and made student loan debt more manageable for all by capping repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income. As Governor, she launched a tax-free college tuition savings plan for New Hampshire, one of the first of its kind in the nation.

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