Sen. Franken vows to continue fight to prevent student loan interest rate hike
NEWS RELEASE — Washington, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said today (Thursday, June 6) he is disheartened by the Senate’s failure to pass the bill he is pushing to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, but he vowed to continue fighting to prevent the rate hike.
If Congress does not take action, the interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1st.
“The average college graduate in Minnesota leaves school with more than $29,000 in debt—among the highest in the country—and the last thing Congress should do is saddle future graduates with more debt,” said Sen. Franken. “I’m disheartened that today we weren’t able to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans from doubling, but I will keep fighting until we get the job done.”
The Student Loan Affordability Act of 2013, introduced by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and cosponsored by Sen. Franken, failed in the Senate Thursday 51-to-46. The bill, which needed 60 votes to advance, would have locked in the current lower interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans for two years. Sen. Franken said that during those two years he would work to find a long-term fix to help keep college more affordable.
Sen. Franken is also a cosponsor of the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), which would allow students to pay the same interest rate on their student loans that banks pay on the money they borrow from the Federal Reserve’s discount window, currently 0.75 percent.
Sen. Franken successfully worked with his colleagues last July to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling and has been working to pass a more permanent fix since then.