01.27.07

Supporting the College Student Relief Act

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the College Student Relief Act. America's economy continues to change, and a college education has grown increasingly more important. Unfortunately, it has also grown increasingly more expensive, with tuition and fees for a four-year public college rising 41 percent--after inflation--since 2001. Federally subsidized loans provide a crucial helping hand to middle class students and families. This legislation will lessen the burden on hardworking students and families by cutting interest rates on federally subsidized student loans in half over a period of five years, from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent.

In California, the average college student with federally subsidized loans graduates with more than $15,000 of debt. The costs of college are such that it is simply unaffordable for many students without help. Over the next decade, 4.4 million high school graduates will be prevented from attending a 4-year college by financial barriers. Our Nation's economic competiveness relies upon having the best educated workforce possible and investment in postsecondary education will yield great societal benefits.

Madam Speaker, this legislation will make a difference in the lives of millions of young people, helping to put them on secure financial footing as they move from college to the working world. And it does so responsibly, within the structure of the PAY-GO rules that ensure that the entire $6 billion in costs will be paid for by reasonable offsets. I urge a “Yes” vote on this important legislation.