Senator Heinrich Continues Fight To Keep Student Loan Interest Rates Low

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich continued his fight to keep student loan interest rates low.

Senator Martin Heinrich

Senator Martin Heinrich

“Earning a college degree shouldn’t be a luxury, but something that every American family can afford,” said Sen. Heinrich after voting for the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013, a fiscally responsible bill he cosponsored to keep the interest rate on federal subsidized Stafford student loans at 3.4 percent for an additional year. “A post-secondary education remains critical for thousands of students and their families in New Mexico. We need to give students a fair shot at succeeding in a tough economy, not saddle them with debt.”

S.1238, the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 failed by a procedural vote today of 51 to 49, which does not meet the 60 vote threshold needed to proceed to debate.

Rates on new subsidized student loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 on July 1, 2013, as a result of Republicans blocking legislation to maintain the low student loan interest rates. This has impacted thousands of students across New Mexico.

“Investment in education improves job opportunities, increases lifetime earnings, and is essential to our nation’s economic competitiveness. Unfortunately, Republicans are instead pushing a proposal that fails to lock in low rates. Their plan would reset interest rates each year, even as they rise–a move that could cause student loan rates to more than double over the next 10 years, burdening students and families with more debt. I will continue to fight to keep student interest rates low so everyone wishing to earn a college education can afford one,” said Sen. Heinrich.

The Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 would keep the interest rate on federal subsidized Stafford student loans at 3.4 percent for an additional year while Congress works on a long-term solution to slow the rapid accumulation of student-loan debt. The bill is fully paid for by closing a loophole for tax-deferred retirement accounts.

Sen. Heinrich has consistently fought to keep higher education within reach for all New Mexicans and to see student loan rates considered in a comprehensive, bipartisan way through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. He said, “The Higher Education Act, the appropriate vehicle to change the way interest rates are calculated, doesn’t expire until the end of this year. Passing a year extension gives Congress the time to consider all the proposals in the context of containing college costs, not just loan rates.”