REP. MIKE THOMPSON HOSTS ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON STUDENT LOANS
Speaks About the Importance of Keeping Interest Rates at Their Current Levels
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-1) joined by university leaders and students, today hosted a roundtable discussion at Sonoma State University on college affordability and student loan interest rates. If Congress does not pass legislation by July 1st, seven million students across the country would see their interest rates double on need-based student loans. During the roundtable discussion, Thompson highlighted the impact a rise in interest rates would have on students and families who must borrow to attend college.
“If interest rates for students double to 6.8 percent on July 1, more than 572,000 students across California will see their debt load increase by more than $476 million,” said Thompson. “If our nation is going to continue producing the world’s best entrepreneurs and innovators to compete in the global economy, then a college education must be an affordable option for working families. College is already costly, and our government doesn’t need to make the price tag even higher by allowing interest rates to double. Congress needs to act now to keep this from happening.”
If Congress doesn’t act, more than 7 million students will incur an additional $6.3 billion in repayment costs for the 2012 – 2013 academic school year. That means college next year, and every additional year Congress doesn’t act, gets $1,000 more expensive for each student borrower.
In 2007, Thompson voted to pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act which made historic investments in student aid. The law halved interest rates on these need-based federal student loans to 3.4 percent, making them more affordable for low- and middle-income students. Without Congressional action, the rate will jump back up to 6.8 percent on July 1st. Thompson is a co-author of legislation that would keep the interest rate on the need-based student loans at 3.4 percent.
To help make college more affordable, Thompson has also voted to increase Pell Grants to $5,550, and to create the American Opportunity Tax Credit which provides a $2,500 tuition tax credit to eligible families and students.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the Counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, and Yolo. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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