WASHINGTON – Alabama students could have to pay $1761 more for college loans if Congress passes a measure next week to cut spending, according to a new report released today by the Institute for America’s Future.
Institute for America’s Future president Robert Borosage said our nation has a responsibility to provide an affordable college degree to every child in Alabama.
This bill will make it harder for students from working families to go to college,” said Borosage. “This measure makes deep and harmful cuts to student loans that will not even pay for the new tax cuts planned for the wealthy.”
The legislation, pushed by the White House and congressional Republican leaders, imposes the largest cuts in student loan programs ever. The House will vote on it around Feb. 1. The measure passed the Senate by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Cheney casting the deciding vote.
The proposal includes a $12.7 billion cut in student loan aid, this locks in higher fixed interest rates on student and parent loans. While college costs soar, Pell grants, the basic federal grant program, will remain capped at $4,050 for the fourth straight year, student debt levels, that have doubled in the last ten years, are likely to rise even higher.
During a question-and-answer session with students at Kansas State University, sophomore Tiffany Cooper asked President Bush how $12.7 billion in recently proposed student loan cuts would help her future. President Bush said he preferred to call it “reform” of the student loan program and inaccurately said that reduction in costs wouldn’t come at the expense of students. This is wrong. The bill locks in higher rates for student and parent loans. The legislators spurn proposals to retain a dramatically lower interest rate.
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**NOTE: A copy of the Alabama College Access Reduction Act report released by the Institute of America’s Future today is available at www.ourfuture.org. **