Whitehouse: Republicans Making College Unaffordable

In 2005, the cost of attending a private college was $29,026 per year on average, including room and board. For public universities, the average cost in 2005 was $12,127.

Sheldon Whitehouse is calling on lawmakers to stop the impending hike in the interest rate on student loans. Rates for student loans are set to increase by almost 2% on July 1, 2006. From a report released by the Whitehouse campaign:

The Budget Reconciliation Bill passed by Congressional Republicans cut $12 billion from federal student loan programs. $2 billion of the reduction in government spending on student loans will result from raising the fixed interest rate on PLUS loans from 7.9% to 8.5% for all loans disbursed after July 1, 2006. The Republicans in Congress put their true priorities on display by advocating $70 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at the same time they were making federal loans $2 billion more expensive for parents.

Whitehouse also helpfully suggests that borrowers contact their lender before June 30 (that’s tomorrow!) to see if they can consolidate their loans at the lower rate.

Borrowers who have taken out at least one federal loan may be able to consolidate loans to lock in lower interest rates and save money, if they act by June 30. Information on federal student loan consolidation is available at http://www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-557-7392.

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4 responses

  1. I went to a top-notch private college (not quite Ivy). Student loans were 3 1/2%. Tuition, room, board was $1800 (rose to $2000). I had state scholarships ($200/yr.) if I promised to teach for a yr. (I did). I had st. legislator’s scholarship (my bro & I shared $500/yr.) I worked for min. wage at college sometimes. I had federal/private jobs each summer at min. wage. First job pd. $6600. Student loans were forgiven as I taught in Middletown – federally impacted area.
    I’m looking at schools for my 16 yr. old. Goodbye ?$35,000/yr. No loans, summer jobs, no scholarships. First job? Won’t pay 3x one year’s tuition, I think. Positively outrageous!

  2. Eileen, congrats on your decision to run for state senate!

    Yes, outrageous. We will likely be looking at state schools when the time comes. Both my husband and I did well in public universities until grad school, where we both paid dearly and got set back financially by the decision. Not to say that elitist experience wasn’t worth something, but I’m not convinced it was worth all that much either. Being saddled with debt, particularly at a higher interest rate, changes your ability to do all sorts of things, I don’t care where you went to school.

    But perhaps I’ll become an independently wealthy social worker and this won’t be a problem (LOL!)

    At least savings interest rates are at a more decent level than they have been in a while. Small consolation, but it’s something.

  3. I agree that the cost of education is outrageous. It’s nothing new. College education has been increasing significantly faster than inflation for decades. And some of our schools sit on billion dollar investments.

    The blame does not belong to the Democrats or the Republicans. I received my loans several years (uh,…decades!) back at 8% interest, and that was a good rate for the times. Government subsidies have become expected, and universities figure in student loans, grants, and Plus loans before determining tuition.

    Perhaps the solution is spending most of our education dollars (including grants to students) on state schools, offering the best education possible at the least cost.

    Isn’t “wealthy social worker” an oxymoron? You’re a good writer Kiersten, you should write a book to pay for your kids education.

    (note to klaus, in anticipation: the oxymoron comment above is in no way meant to be an attack, but rather shared sympathy from a public school teacher who never expects to be wealthy either)

  4. What did Clinton say? I feel your pain. All my education was public with $140,000 student loan to show for it. My eldest is getting certified as an EMT to help defray her college education costs.

    My second eldest is wait listed at U of Chicago and otherwise will be attending NYU at about $35,000 annually.

    Three more to go and the practical reality is working two jobs and summers to pay for a bachelors is not an option for many unless they have the good fortune to attend a quality state institution, rent and commute, which is what I end up doing.

    This is becoming a legitimate class issue and will hurt is nationally.

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