2012-06-08 / Top Stories

Congressman Meeks Sets Forum On Student Loans

Representative Gregory W. Meeks, who represents the eastern portion of the Rockaway Peninsula, joined by York College faculty, representatives from local elected officials’ offices, churches, and students recently urged Congress to take steps that would keep interest rates low on need-based student loans for more than seven million students across the country.

Speaking at a press conference in his district office, Meeks highlighted the effects the impending rise in interest rates would have on students and families who must borrow to attend college. Meeks also announced a town hall and workshop on student loans he will be hosting on Wednesday, June 13, 5:30 p.m. at York College (Faculty Dining Room #2D01) located at 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, Jamaica, N.Y. The Town Hall will inform student-loan-borrowers about the legislative environment in Congress, and assist college graduates in need of guidance with information about their current loans/options.

“If interest rates for students double to 6.8 percent on July 1, more than 422,670 students across New York State will see their debt load increase by $340,805,528,” said Meeks. “We should not be creating more impediments for young people to get the education or the skills needed to succeed. Congress should take immediate steps to keep students in the classroom and interest rates low.”

If Congress does not act, more than seven million students will incur an additional $6.3 billion in repayment costs for the 2012-2013 academic school year. That means college next year, and every additional year Congress doesn’t act, gets $1,000 more expensive for each student borrower, Meeks warns.

Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress made historic investments in student aid. The law halved interest rates on need-based federal student loans to 3.4 percent – making these loans more affordable for low- and middle-income students. If Congress doesn’t act before July, the rate will jump back up to 6.8 percent, making it much more difficult for many American students and their families to afford a college education.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, Congress overhauled the college student loan program – ending a flawed system that gave away billions in federal subsidies to private banks that simply acted as middle-men and putting those taxpayer dollars directly in the hands of students”, Meeks said.

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