Now that the deadline has passed to prevent student loan rates from doubling to almost 7 percent, some members of Congress are scrambling to fix the problem before students sign new loans for the fall. Today. we’re asking you to participate in a click-to-call campaign to tell key senators to step up and support a rollback of this rate increase.
Multiple proposals have been put forward, but at this point in the Senate only two look ready for a vote.
One is the extension of the previous 3.4 percent rate for another year, which is sponsored by 39 Democrats, that is expected to come to a vote on Wednesday. The other proposal is the bipartisan deal being championed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Thomas Carper (D-Del.), which pegs the student loan rate to the 10-year Treasury note, increasing current rates to 4.5 percent and leaving students vulnerable to even higher rates in the future.
The problem we are facing now is that one of the two proposals still alive in the Senate will hurt our students, as would the bill passed by the Republican-controlled House weeks ago. Since Congress once again let it get this far, our only option left is to freeze the rates for another year to protect our students. Then once the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act comes up this fall, hopefully Congress will be ready to help our students.
In the meantime, only 39 Democrats in the Senate have showed direct support for freezing the student loan rate, and without 60 votes, Senate Republicans will be able to filibuster any attempt to help students.
Below is a list of Democratic senators that have still not co-sponsored Sen. Jack Reed’s (D-R.I.) Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, a bill to extend the 3.4 percent rate another year:
- Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
- Thomas Carper (D-Del.) (supporter of the bipartisan bill to link rates to 10-year Treasury note)
- Joe Donnelly, (D-Ind.)
- Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
- Angus King (I-Maine) (supporter of the bipartisan bill to link rates to 10-year Treasury note)
- Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) (supporter of the bipartisan bill to link rates to 10-year Treasury note)
- Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
- Mark Warner (D-Va.)
If one of the above senators is your senator, call them and tell them to freeze student loan rates while we work towards a better, long-term solution for our students.
This post has been updated to remove the names of senators who have been added as co-sponsors of the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act as of today.