Glad to see Senators Mark Begich, Merkley and Warren co-sponsoring this legislation. Warren and Congressman John Tierney (D. MA-6) make an excellent case for this legislation:A little more than two weeks after introducing her first bill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is already seeing a wave of strong support.
Back on May 8, Warren announced her plans to set student loan interest rates at the same level big banks receive from the Federal Reserve. Come July 1, some student loan rates are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, prompting Warren to push for legislation that reduces the level to 0.75 percent.
By Thursday, Warren's website showcased that more than two dozen organizations have endorsed the measure. Among the notable supporters were major universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and groups like American Federation of Teachers.
Coupled with the support from outside sources is a strong core of political colleagues behind the bill. Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have joined on as co-sponsors, and Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) has introduced a corresponding House version of the bill. - Huffington Post, 5/24/13
Being on the side of students and middle-class families is not only the right thing to do, it's also smart politics. Merkley, Begich and Landrieu made the right call and I applaud them for going forces with Senator Warren. Warren has also co-sponsored Senator Jack Reed's (D. RI) legislation to help keep interest rates low:Some people say that we can’t afford low interest rates for students. But the federal government offers far lower rates on loans every single day —they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of less than one percent. The same big banks that destroyed millions of jobs and broke our economy can borrow at about 0.75 percent, while our students will be paying nine times as much as of July 1.
This is not fair. And it’s not necessary, either. The federal government makes 36 cents on every dollar it lends to students. Just last week, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the government will make $51 billion on the student loans it issued this year — more than the annual profit of any Fortune 500 company, and about five times Google’s yearly earnings. We should not be profiting from students who are drowning in debt while we are giving great deals to big banks.
That’s why we introduced the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act. The bill gives students the same deal that we give to the big banks by allowing those who are eligible for federally subsidized Stafford loans to borrow at the same rate offered to banks through the Federal Reserve discount window. For one year, the Federal Reserve would make funds available to the Department of Education to make these loans to our students. This would give students relief from high interest rates while giving Congress time to find a long-term solution.Fixing the interest rate on new subsidized loans is only a first step in helping students who are drowning in debt. We must ensure that the interest rates on all student loans are as low as possible, and that struggling borrowers have options to help them avoid default. Congress will have the opportunity to address these issues next year when it reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. We will work with our colleagues to make student loans a fair deal for students rather than a profit center for the federal government.
Economists explain that banks need low rates because their stability is essential to our shaky economic recovery. But students are just as important as banks to a strong recovery. High levels of student debt pose a risk to our economy if students cannot pay it back. If the Federal Reserve can lend trillions to financial institutions at low rates to grow the economy, surely it can float the money that will keep student loan payments low, keep us competitive, and grow our middle class. - Boston Globe, 5/21/13
Democracy For America is helping Warren gain more support for her bill. You can call your Senator and urge them to get behind and report your call here:Senator Warren is also a co-sponsor of the Student Loan Affordability Act, introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), which would extend existing interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for two years.
Student loan interest rates are set to jump from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, while banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve’s discount window at a rate of approximately 0.75 percent. The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act would allow students to borrow funds at the same low rate that banks borrow from the Federal Reserve for a year, providing a window for Congress to find a fair, long term solution on student loan interest rates.
The current list of endorsers is below. Please click here for the most up-to-date list.
Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts include Babson College, Bentley University, Brandeis University, Boston College, Dean College, Emerson College, Emmanuel College, Hampshire College, Lasell College, Marian Court College, New England Conservatory, Nichols College, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Wheaton College, Williams College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Other organizations include American Federation of Teachers, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), representing over sixty colleges and universities in Massachusetts, Campaign for America's Future (33,327 petition signatures), Credo (83,656 petition signatures), Democracy for America (106,512 petition signatures), Move On (430,176 petition signatures), National Organization for Women, National Youth Association, Progressive Change Campaign Committee (438,369 petition signatures), Rebuild the Dream, Student Debt Crisis, United States Student Association, and Young Invincibles. - Go Local Worcester, 5/23/13
And if you would like to donate to Tierney, Merkley, Begich or Landrieu's re-election bids, you can do so here:
Rep. John Tierney (D. MA-6):
Senator Jeff Merkley (D. OR):
Senator Mark Begich (D. AK):
Senator Mary Landrieu (D. LA):