Across Massachusetts, Students Organizing With Warren To Tell Congress To Stop Increases In Student Loan Costs

Brown joins Senate Republicans, blocks bill to stop doubling of interest rates

BOSTON – Students from across Massachusetts are organizing with consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren to tell Congress to stop the doubling of interest rates on federal student loans. Senator Scott Brown today joined Senate Republicans to block legislation that would have stopped the increase in these Stafford loans scheduled for July 1.

"Young people here in Massachusetts and across the country who are working hard and building a future -- and our nation's future – by investing in their education, should not suddenly face higher interest rates on their student loans," said Warren. "Scott Brown made it clear today whose side he stands on when he joined his fellow Republicans in the Senate to defeat a bill that would have prevented interest rates on student loans from doubling."

"Congress protects tax breaks for big oil companies and provides handouts to Wall Street. We shouldn't be asking middle class kids and their families to pay that bill," Warren said.

College students who would be directly affected by the doubling of student loan interest rates have joined Warren in calling on Congress to take action now. Students at colleges and universities across the Commonwealth, from Tufts to UMass Amherst, organized their classmates and recent graduates by holding informational tabling events, organizing phone banks on their campuses to reach hundreds of young voters, and submitting letters to their campus newspapers in support of Elizabeth's position on student loans.

"It is incredibly important for college students to support candidates like Elizabeth Warren. We need people in Washington who stand up for students and recognize how important this issue is," said Taylor Barnard, a Tufts University student and President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts. "Now, more than ever, we must make sure college is affordable and available to those who want an education. Unfortunately, Senator Brown voted against a bill that would have prevented student loan rates from doubling. I'm disappointed in his choice not to stand with students when we need it most."

Under the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act, subsidized Stafford Loan interest rates were gradually reduced from the 2006 rate of 6.8% to today's 3.4% rate. The reduction expires this summer – on July 1, 2012. It is estimated that the increase will cost the average student borrower $1,000.

"In the past few weeks, Congress voted to protect subsidies for oil companies and special tax breaks for billionaires. That money could have been invested in our public colleges and universities, in advanced technical training programs, or in stronger grant programs," said Warren. "It is time for Washington's priorities to line up with the students and their families who are working hard to build a real future."

Warren also called on Congress to take action in an op-ed published on the Blue Mass Group website on Monday. To read the op-ed, click here.