Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will vote today to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling in the 2012-13 school year, which would make it more difficult for all West Virginians and all Americans to access higher education. Without congressional action, the interest rate on federally-subsidized Stafford student loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1.
“We have to work together to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, because every dollar counts. We want all of our children - not just a few - to be able to afford college,” Senator Manchin said. “Education is truly the most important investment that our children can make in themselves, and it doesn't make any sense to make it more expensive. In West Virginia, our state is doing everything we can to keep college affordable so that we can train our students for the jobs of the future, and the federal government needs to do its part. While this bill isn't perfect - and I would have preferred to pay for these loans with money we're spending in Afghanistan - I cannot, in good conscience, allow student loan interest rates to double in these tough economic times.”
- According to the Project on Student Debt, West Virginia’s students have an average of $23,678 in student debt.
- About 73 percent of students in West Virginia have student loan debt.
- According to the U.S. Department of Education, Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, with total loans outstanding exceeding $1 trillion for the first time in 2011.
- According to the Department of Education, more than 60 percent of college students get a federal student loan at some point in their undergraduate studies. Subsidized Stafford loans will account for more than one-quarter of the total federal student loan volume next year.
- According to the Department of Education, about 7.4 million borrowers would each face an additional $1,000 in student loan debt if the interest rate on subsidized federal education loans were to double.