Welch re­news ef­fort to block July 1st in­ter­est rate in­crease on Stafford Stu­dent Loans

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Burli­ing­ton, VT

With in­ter­est rates on some Stafford Stu­dent Loans set to dou­ble this sum­mer, Rep. Peter Welch met with Ver­mont col­lege stu­dents in Rut­land and pledged to block the in­crease.

On July 1, in­ter­est rates on Stafford Stu­dent Loans will rise from 3.4 per­cent to 6.8 per­cent. Welch played a cru­cial role in block­ing a sim­i­lar rate in­crease last year. To con­vince his col­leagues in the House of the need for re­lief, he col­lected sto­ries from Ver­mont stu­dents and fam­i­lies about the ris­ing cost of col­lege and ex­plo­sion of stu­dent debt and shared them on the House floor.

“Mid­dle class fam­i­lies are strug­gling to put their kids through col­lege. At a time when in­ter­est rates are at an all time low, it makes no sense to dou­ble the in­ter­est rates on Stafford loans. Congress stepped up to the plate last year in a bi­par­ti­san ef­fort and blocked this in­crease. It is im­per­a­tive that we do

so again so that higher ed­u­ca­tion re­mains within reach for work­ing fam­i­lies.”

At the Com­mu­nity Col­lege of Ver­mont (CCV) in Rut­land - the home of the late Sen. Robert Stafford (R-Vt.) for whom the Stafford Loans are named - Welch heard from stu­dents about the af­ford­abil­ity of a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the New Eng­land Board of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, the cost of a pub­lic col­lege ed­u­ca­tion in Ver­mont has in­creased by 27 per­cent over the last five years. The Project on Stu­dent Debt es­ti­mates that 63 per­cent of Ver­mont col­lege se­niors hold debt, the av­er­age be­ing just over $28,000.

Welch has been a House leader work­ing to make col­lege more af­ford­able. Last year Welch in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to grant reg­u­la­tory re­lief for col­leges and curb tuition in­creases. Welch also in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion this year to stream­line the stu­dent fi­nan­cial aid ap­pli­ca­tion process.

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