In speech, Sen. Franken presses for agreement to prevent hike on student loan rates
NEWS RELEASE — Washington, D.C. —In a speech delivered from the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) urged action to prevent the rate hike on student loans slated to take place on July 1.
Without Congressional action, the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
“Countless students at schools across Minnesota demonstrate tremendous perseverance and grit in getting a college education and in cobbling together the resources to pay for it,” Sen. Franken said in his speech. “They are working incredibly hard, and they are still taking on significant amounts of debt—debt that will stay with them for a good portion of their lives. Paying for college shouldn’t have to be that hard.”
Sen. Franken has long been a champion of making the cost of college more affordable. He is a cosponsor of the Student Loan Affordability Act—which received majority support but did not pass in the Senate earlier this month—that would have locked in the current lower interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans for two years. He 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 is also the author of the Understanding the True Cost of College Act, which would clarify what financial aid families will receive from a school and create standard terms for the aid offered so that students can accurately compare offers from different schools. Currently, schools do not use standard definitions or names for different types of aid, so students and families often report having difficulty differentiating between grant aid, which does not need to be repaid, and student loans, which do need to be repaid.
Lastly, he is the author of the Accelerated Learning Act—which was recently incorporated into the Senate bill to reform the so-called “No Child Left Behind” law—that would help make college affordable by expanding access to accelerated learning models like AP, IB, dual enrollment, and early college high schools for low-income students. This would allow students to get college credit while in high school and earn their college degree more quickly.