Credo Action

Tell your senator: Support Senator Elizabeth Warren's Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act

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The petition reads:

The U.S. government should lend money to students at the same low rates it gives Wall Street banks. Support Senator Elizabeth Warren's Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act, which provides a one-year fix to the impending doubling of students' rate by setting the student loan interest rates at 0.75%.

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    Tell your senator: Support Senator Elizabeth Warren's Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act

    Once again, the student loan crisis is about to explode this summer. The interest rate on federal student loans will double this July if Congress doesn't take action.

    Fortunately, Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced legislation entitled the Bank on Students Loans Fairness Act that would provide a one-year fix to the impending doubling of students' rate by setting the student loan interest rate at the same level the Federal Reserve offers to big banks: 0.75%.1

    Tell your senator: Support Senator Warren's Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act.

    Last year, Congress passed legislation that delayed the doubling of the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans from 3.4% to 6.8%. This wouldn't have happened without the activism of over 284,000 CREDO Action members along with hundreds of thousands of others mobilized by our progressive allies who pushed for an indefinite extension of the lower student interest rate with petitions, calls and letters to the editor. However, because Democrats caved, the extension of the lower rate was set at only one year. And now we have to fight again to delay the doubling of the rate.

    Without an enormous amount of pressure from activists like us, the current Republican leadership in the House will let last year's bill expire on July 1, effectively doubling the interest rate on these loans. This could result in adding $5,000 to new federal loans for college students.2 But if we can help create massive momentum for Senator Warren's legislation we may be able to force the hand of Congressional Republicans to either pass the measure or go on the record as the party fighting against the interest of millions of America's students and their families.

    Your senator hasn't yet co-sponsored Senator Warren's bill, so we need constituents like you to build support for this common sense legislation and give much-needed financial relief to college students and recent graduates, who are struggling under the weight of crushing student loans.

    Tell your senator: Support Senator Warren's Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act.

    The underlying message of Senator Warren's legislation is powerful and to the point. We bailed out the big banks. Why then deny students who weren't responsible for wrecking our economy the same deal we give the banks? Students shouldn't be forced to pay interest rates almost nine times higher than the biggest banks get at the discount window at the Federal Reserve.3

    Since 1999, the average student loan debt has increased by 511%.4 That's a five-fold increase in just 13 years! Student loans have now become "the 21st century version of indentured servitude."5 With unemployment still unacceptably high and millions of recent college graduates out of work or underemployed, the last thing we should be doing is making matters worse by letting their interest rate double, adding further financial stress on students and their families.

    Tell your senator: Support Senator Warren's Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act.

    Even if Sen. Warren's bill passes, it's another one-year extension which means that we will be right back where we started next spring. But if we can win the same rate for students as the U.S. government gives Wall Street banks, we'll be in a much better position to defend those rates in the months before crucial midterm elections.

    And keep in mind that federal student loans with low interest rates, such as the subsidized Stafford loan, are designed to benefit students whose families make under $50,000 a year - folks who can least afford to see their interest rate jump.6

    Now is the time for all of us to speak up on behalf of our students. Sign the petition and consider inviting students and their families in your personal network to join the fight.

    Thank you for taking action to make sure that all students who make it to college can afford higher education.

    1. Ryan Grim and Will Wrigley, "Elizabeth Warren: Student Loans Should Have Same Rate Big Banks Get," HuffingtonPost.com, May 8, 2013.
    2. Phillip Elliott, "New college student-loan rates may double," AP, April 1, 2013.
    3. Press Release from Senator Elizabeth Warren, "Senator Warren Introduces Legislation Extending to Students Same Interest Rates Enjoyed By Big Banks," warren.senate.gov, May 8, 2013.
    4. David Indiviglio, "Chart of the Day: Student Loans have grown 511% since 1999," The Atlantic.com, August 18, 2011.
    5. Mike Konczal, "Student Loans are the New Indentured Servitude," The Atlantic.com, October 12, 2009.
    6. U.S. Pirg, United States Student Association, Young Invincibles, "Issue Brief: Don't Double Our Rates," uspirg.org, April 9, 2013.