Cassie Fago and Sarah Shah: College loans: Take Two

July 9, 2013 

Loans: Take 2

As students, we applaud Sen. Kay Hagan’s introduction of S. 1238, the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013, which would keep interest rates low for millions of students going to school this fall. Because Congress failed to act before July 1, interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford student loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Currently, 54 percent of N.C. college graduates carry student loan debt, with an average of $20,800 per borrower. Meanwhile, the federal government will collect massive, shortsighted revenue from student loan borrowers – projected at $51 billion for next year alone.

Considering the student debt problem and the significant number of students and borrowers affected, it is clear we need a comprehensive overhaul of student loan policy. Hagan’s bill would maintain low rates while Congress seeks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and reach a comprehensive solution to the crisis that is good for students.

We shouldn’t have to keep fighting the college affordability war. When we graduate, we want to help strengthen our economy by doing things like buying homes and saving for retirement. The investments we’ve made in our education should help us accomplish these goals, not hold us back.

Cassie Fago

Sarah Shah, Durham

The writers are graduate students at Duke University.

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