Students’ education in jeopardy unless Congress extends Stafford Loan interest rates

Dear Editor:

In 2007, Congress voted to cut the Stafford Loan interest rate in half by 2011 from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent.

This represented an estimated savings to students in higher education of approximately $7.2 billion during a five-year period from 2007 to 2012. More than 7 million students who have borrowed from the Stafford Loan program face the prospect of seeing their student loan interest rates double if Congress does not act by July 1 to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate.

These loans have helped millions of lower- and middle-income families who are facing rising tuition costs to better afford a college education for their students. This is an important issue for students who have availed themselves of the opportunity to attend an institution of higher education while depending upon these low-interest loans as an important part of their financial package.

The failure to extend the lower interest rate will jeopardize the education of millions of students by adding an additional $1,000 in debt in their pursuit of a higher education degree and could negatively affect the enrollment of public universities such as SIU in the future. I am working through the national associations in contacting appropriate members of Congress about this issue.

I would like to encourage everyone associated with the university as a student, faculty or staff member to contact your members of Congress and voice your support for the lower interest rate of 3.4 percent being extended for the Stafford Loan program.

Glenn Poshard
SIU President

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