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(Concord, N.H.) – Reaffirming her commitment to making college affordable for New Hampshire students and families, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today hosted a roundtable at Granite State College to highlight the need for Congressional action to prevent a student loan rate-hike from taking effect. If Congress fails to act, the 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 in debt to approximately 7.2 million students.

“Affordable education is one of the best economic investments our country can make,” Shaheen said. “We should be doing everything we can to make America a magnet for strong jobs, provide our workers with the skills they need to compete, and help Americans get ahead. The last thing we should do at a time when Americans owe more on student loans than credit cards is to let interest rates on student loans double. We have a responsibility to prevent this from happening; the cost of inaction is too high.”

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 worked extensively last year to avoid a similar doubling of interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans and has supported a new Pay As You Earn Repayment plan that could help as many as 1.6 million students reduce their monthly payments. She also 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.