On Wednesday, April 11, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) visited the RIT campus to discuss a proposal which would limit student loan interest. According to Schumer, Congress is currently in the process of doubling the interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans. If passed, increases would affect student loans taken in autumn of 2012 onwards. He hopes to prevent this act, and is actively attacking it.
“As of last year, almost 8,000 of our undergraduate students used the Stafford Loan program to help finance their education,” said President Bill Destler before Schumer took the podium.
“Most all these students are going to have a big pile of debt when they leave,” said Schumer. He stated his belief college is already expensive enough, and there is absolutely no reason to further increase college costs. “Even though college is very expensive, it’s worth it,” he said. “When a student cannot afford a college they deserve to go to because the cost is too high, and they don’t have the backup to go, they lose.”
In 2007, Congress voted to lower the interest rates of subsidized Stafford Loans to 3.4 percent, according to a March 13 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Now they are trying double rates to 6.8 percent. According to Schumer, that’s almost $3,800 dollars in increased payments on a $20,000 loan.
“That’s outrageous,” Schumer says, “Student debt is like quicksand — it swallows a student up before he or she gains any footing.” The senator stated his intention to press this matter forward until rates are leveled at their current amount, which he hopes to make permanent later this year.