(UNION) – Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union), who is sponsoring legislation to help ease the burden of high student loan debt in New Jersey, today called on Congress to support President Obama’s proposal to keep the interest rate on new subsidized federal student loans from doubling.
The president recently embarked on a three-state college tour to urge Congress to prevent the interest rates on federal Stafford student loans from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The interest rates were lowered from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent five years ago. The lower rate expires after June and would return to 6.8 percent for new loans taken out this fall, if Congress does not act before July 1.
“The reality awaiting many college students after graduation is sobering. They are leaving school with large amounts of student loan debt and entering a workforce that remains stagnant three years after the recession ended. A higher loan rate would just be devastating,” said Quijano. “I’m glad the president has taken on this cause and hope Congress will support him. We teach our young people that education is the key to prosperity, but many of them are graduating with enormous student loan debt and few job prospects. We must do better by our young people. This is one way to do that.”
Quijano has been a leader on this issue here at home. In January, she introduced a bill to alleviate the financial burden many college students in New Jersey face after graduation.
The bill (A-1104) would provide taxpayers a credit against the New Jersey gross income tax for interest paid on student loans attained via a student loan program, a federal loan program or a commercial lender. The purpose of the bill is to defray a portion of the overall costs associated with making payments on student loans obtained exclusively to finance the pursuit of higher education.
“This bill would help ease the financial burden faced not only by recent graduates, but those who continue to make monthly payments long after they left school,” said Quijano. “College keeps getting more and more expensive. Unless we want college to be an option for a select few, we must act now. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will side with our students and support this bill.”