Saturday May 25, 2013, 6:13 am
Photo Credit: unwikepedia.org
Over a Million Signatures in Support for Sen. Warren's Student Loan Bill
Senator Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) call to lower student loan interest rates to the same "discounted rates" given to big banks has received an "outpouring of support" as organizations and institutions of higher education are lining up to endorse the measure.
The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act (pdf), the first introduced by the rookie Senator, allows students to borrow at the same low rate—currently set at 0.75 percent—that banks borrow from the Federal Reserve for a year, "providing a window for Congress to find a fair, long term solution on student loan interest rates."
Unless action is taken, the rate of subsidized student loans is set to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1.
Congressman John Tierney (D-Mass.) has introduced a corresponding House version of the bill.
According to a statement on Warren's site which lists the endorsing institutions, the senator "has received an outpouring of support from students and their families, colleges and universities, and independent groups."
Petitions in support of the legislation by groups such as Democracy for America and Move On have gathered a total of over a million signatures.
Both Warren and Congressman Tierney have been meeting with the groups to discuss "the moral obligation of investing in students and providing them with the same cheap access to credit that we provide big banks."
"These students and their families have worked hard, saved what they could, and borrowed what they need to pay for higher education," writes Warren in a Boston Globe op-ed earlier this week. "Rather than reward their efforts, the government plans to add to their burden."
Some people say that we can’t afford low interest rates for students. But the federal government offers far lower rates on loans every single day —they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of less than one percent. The same big banks that destroyed millions of jobs and broke our economy can borrow at about 0.75 percent, while our students will be paying nine times as much as of July 1.
This is not fair. [...]
We should not be profiting from students who are drowning in debt while we are giving great deals to big banks.
Unlike big banks, students do not have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They’re banking on us to do what’s right. Let’s bank on students by investing in their futures and giving them a break on student loan interest.
Another voice that has come out in support of the measure is Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who says that American students are "more dependent on the income and education of their parents than in other industrial countries."
USA Today reports:
"Students are being squeezed," says Stiglitz, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics. "Incomes are down, and tuition is going up." Those who go to public colleges are getting hit the hardest, he says, because of state budget cuts.
Most other industrialized nations make paying for college easier, Stiglitz says. For example, Australia's loan program caps payments as a percentage of income, essentially enabling most people to pay for college without going bankrupt. Many European countries directly subsidize college, although those subsidies have fallen due to the financial crisis.
But saddling students with payments they can't make -- or limiting their ability to attend college at all -- means the U.S. could fall behind foreign competitors. "There is a real risk that this will impede long-term economic growth," Stiglitz says.
This bill is currently assigned to a congressional committee that will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.
By: Lauren McCauley, staff writer | Common Dreams |
Saturday May 25, 2013, 9:18 am
Yep, and that includes all of ours here on C2 who signed on to co-sponsor it.. It will be REALLY interesting to see what will happen with this bill.. - another highly visible act of shame and insanity ? - I won't even dare any bet...
Saturday May 25, 2013, 10:08 am
I'm in awe of the strength that Elizabeth Warren has displayed as a "rookie" Senator thus far! I've never seen anything like it!
This is a reasonable bill, one that the country should have implemented long ago, but for the Republicans, who have shown no interest in supporting the youth and hope of this country, but would sooner give scholarships and jobs to students and workers from other countries (while ironically - making immigration more difficult for the working poor) - it's shocking - what we're doing to undermine the educational process in this country can only be compared to how we are investing in our infra-structure!
Thanks Kit - I too have signed many petitions in support of this cause - and while I have one child who made it through law (at great expense), my daughter cannot afford a masters degree, even while carrying on two jobs!
Saturday May 25, 2013, 10:24 am
Thanks for the good news that should arm the Senate to support her approach and refuse to negotiate with the House with their opposite unconscionable immoral approach so it is a bill the President can sign with a clear conscience.
Saturday May 25, 2013, 11:56 am
First of all, welcome back, Kit - we sorely missed you!
Second, I love this lady - she has guts, courage, determination, and compassion. She's intelligent and can handle those big ol' boys with class. She'd make a great presidential candidate, too....
Saturday May 25, 2013, 12:51 pm
Thank you for the post! I love, love, love Warren! She's a woman of strength and courage who fights for the people. This country needs Elizabeth Warren. This bill must pass for the sake of our students. Thanks to all for the important comments.
Saturday May 25, 2013, 1:09 pm
"the moral obligation of investing in students"....I'm afraid the GOP has no understanding of empathy or "moral obligations"! Just look at how the GOP wants to eliminate the Dept. of Education because it deems it a waste of money to educate poor students. Senator Warren's bill is at the heart of what our society should be offering our future generations, but I'm afraid the House will surely kill it. The GOP doesn't care what 90% of Americans want; just look how the GOP killed the Gun Control legislation even as the great majority of Americans were in favor of the bill! Still, I'm hopeful Sen. Warren's bill will someway, somehow succeed!
Saturday May 25, 2013, 1:28 pm
Senator Warren is a breath of fresh air in our Senate. I hope we can find more like her by next election. You go girl, we have your back, and I love to see you make the scumbags shake. lol. I watch her hearings and she really knows exactly what to ask, and insists on an answer. They really are weasels that she has to confront. (sorry weasels, you are much better).
Saturday May 25, 2013, 2:21 pm
Has anyone else noticed that greed seems to be the overriding issue in our Congress these days? Every Congressman seems to have their hand in someone's pocket, and that ends up costing US money. This issue shouldn't BE an issue. Get the Big Banks out of politics and make them behave like decent humans beings. Tell Congress to listen to the people instead of the money men. Lower student loan interest rates!
Saturday May 25, 2013, 2:26 pm
Many thanks, Kit, I've signed all the petitions and hope those who haven't will sign now. Warren presents excellent, thoughtful arguments.....I'd vote for her for Pres. in a heartbeat!
Saturday May 25, 2013, 2:29 pm
Noted...thanks Kit. As I've said before higher education is largely becoming unaffordable in this country, and will most certainly become even more unaffordable if prospective students must borrow money at higher interest rates. Allowing interest rates to double will only help to entrench our path to third world status.
Saturday May 25, 2013, 5:41 pm
It's quite clear that it's in the interests of one party (the Republicans) to prevent the American public from gaining an education. By keeping the people ignorant, they can best control the message the American people hears--guide the votes they cast--and ensure that conservatives are kept in power. Am I paranoid, a little? Not really.
Saturday May 25, 2013, 5:45 pm
A million signers is impressive. I have a student loan that's been bouncing around over the years for an education that I didn't get. Most likely, it will follow me to my grave. I will never be able to pay it. My only income is from SSDI and I strongly believe people who are seniors, disabled, or both, should have student loans forgiven.
Saturday May 25, 2013, 6:13 pm
Noted. I'd like to see this happen. Ridiculous to think that Congress would feel good about raising interest rates on student loans. I mean, come on, keep the lower income ignorant so that the 'haves' have more chance of taking over? I'm proud to have paid mine off over a ten year period back in the dark ages. I hope that current and future students are given the same opportunity. It would make no sense to set them up for failure the minute they get out of school.
My own student loans were nothing compared to what students pay for higher education today, if anything those loans should be underwritten by the Federal government. Yes, it is worth having the Feds pay out to help our own get a better education, it will pay for itself with a strong working group in the US.
Saturday May 25, 2013, 8:24 pm
We should all back this proposal- no one is saying students shouldn't pay interest on their student loans- it's that the loan rate shouldn't be allowed to increase so much.
Tuesday May 28, 2013, 1:44 am
Senator Warren is an example of the best and brightest. I too have signed many petitions in favor of her legislation. She and Senator Sanders still believe in serving and helping people and regulating corporations. Gee what a wonderful idea if only it were contagious. Thank you for sharing Kit noted