SHAHEEN STATEMENT ON STUDENT LOAN VOTE

Measure to prevent Stafford rates from doubling is blocked

May 08, 2012

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released the following statement after voting in favor of a measure to stop interest rates from doubling on federally subsidized student loans. The measure was blocked when a vote to end the filibuster on the bill failed in a 52-45 vote. Sixty votes are needed to end a filibuster.

“I hear from students across New Hampshire about how important a college education is to their future prospects. During these difficult economic times, and with such high demand in our economy for highly skilled workers, we should be working to make college more accessible, not less.  Congress needs to find a bipartisan solution to this issue.”

New Hampshire already has the highest average student debt in the nation at $31,408 per student. That could increase by a combined total of $30.5 million if Congress doesn’t stop interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans from increasing from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1. Nationwide, 7.4 million students will face an average of $1,000 in additional debt when they graduate college. There are almost 38,000 students in New Hampshire with subsidized Stafford Loans who could be affected.

Shaheen met with students at Keene State College and Plymouth State University last week to discuss this issue and hear how an increase in loan costs could affect them. Shaheen has long worked to increase college affordability, supporting education reforms in 2010 that increased the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 and made student loan debt more manageable. 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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