Higher interest rates on student loans could have long-term implications

Monday, June 17, 2013

The program that would later become the Stafford Loan Program was first established in 1965, and now, for nearly two generations, it has been an invaluable resource for ensuring access to higher education in America.

It is always difficult to establish proper interest rates for borrowing money. Assessing risk and predicting success are two criteria that typically factor into the setting of rates. The Stafford Loan program assumes that the equalizer in setting interest rates is the pursuit of higher education.

At a time when the 10-year borrowing rate stands at 2.2 percent, allowing the interest rate for these student loans to rise to 6.8 percent reflects a lack of belief and commitment in the power of higher education for our young people.

We have a responsibility to protect our young. We also have a responsibility to ensure they have every opportunity to thrive, to realize the American dream.

There are hopeful signs that more young people are seeking and achieving more higher education. College attendance and degree completion are increasing and are at the highest levels in history.

These trends are vital for our nation. Jobs requiring post-secondary education have outstripped the number of young people with degrees for more than a generation. Even more important, the responsibility of citizenship, in this ever more complex and interconnected world, demands the highest levels of education attainment.

This is not the time to create additional barriers to pursuing higher education.

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