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NEA Student members to Congress: Don’t double my rate!

NEA urges passage of legislation that will provide a fair, fixed interest rate

WASHINGTON - June 06, 2013 -

Senators voted this morning on two proposals that aim to stop interest rates from doubling on July 1. Without any congressional action, interest rates on millions of subsidized federal student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Neither proposal was able to get 60 votes, which is necessary for the Senate to proceed on either bill.

NEA is urging the Senate to come together before July 1 and prevent interest rates from doubling, which would place additional pressure on graduates and cause many high school students to reconsider applying to colleges and universities.

National Education Association Student Program leaders are on Capitol Hill this week to urge support of S. 953, legislation that will prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1 and would extend the current fixed 3.4 percent rate for two years.

NEA thanks S. 953,authors Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for recognizing and working to fix this crucial issue in a way that will help students currently struggling to find work. Senators Coburn (R-OK), Burr (R-NC), and Alexander (R-TN), have sponsored a bill which would institute a variable, uncapped interest rate on student loans. 

“Adding to the student loan burden harms students, parents, and our fragile economy. It will keep students from obtaining a higher education when we all should be finding ways to get more students into our colleges and universities. Congress needs to do what’s right for students and vote yes to the Student Loan Affordability Act,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

NEA Student Chair and University of Iowa Graduate David Tjaden was joined by other NEA Student Program members this week on Capitol Hill, where they met with the offices of 11 members of Congress, telling their own personal stories, sharing anecdotes from student members across the country, and thanking several for being champions of the issue. They also encouraged members to support legislation that keeps college affordable for all.

As future K–12 educators, the issue of college affordability is extremely important to the 60,000 NEA Student Program members, who are currently struggling to pay for their own education, but are also concerned for their future students’ ability to follow their dreams.“We all fear for that senior in high school who has decide whether or not to set aside a college acceptance letter based on the skyrocketing costs of higher education,” said Tjaden. “Our lawmakers must take steps to ensure that those students have the ability to pursue their career choices and can do so without the burdens and barriers of high student loan interest rates.”
Making post-secondary education affordable for students and families is essential for the future of our nation:

  • Some 60 percent of students must borrow to attend college—increasing borrowing costs will make it impossible for some to pursue higher education.
  • Total student debt passed the $1 trillion mark last year—already, 35 percent of our nation’s 37 million students are behind on their loan payments, a number that will only grow if interest rates and the cost of borrowing rise.

To read more about the impact of student loan rates on our economy, click here. To see photos of NEA Student leaders’ meetings with members of Congress, click here. To read NEA’s letter to the Senate on student loan interest rates, click here.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sara Robertson, (202) 822-7823,