May 24, 2012

Manchin: We Must Come Together To Keep Student Loans Affordable

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement about votes today on keeping student loan rates affordable. 

“The fact is that keeping student loan rates low should be one of the highest priorities for this country, because we must invest in the next generation,” Senator Manchin said. “As Democrats and Republicans, we must come together and agree on a way to keep student loans affordable. 

“For the people of West Virginia, it’s only fair to fund these student loans by ending loopholes in our tax system – like the John Edwards/Newt Gingrich loophole that allows some to avoid paying their Medicare taxes.  Unfortunately, a second measure would have taken the wrong approach, by eliminating funding for preventive health care, which is so important to our communities in West Virginia.

“Affordable student loan rates should not be a partisan issue, and I am determined to make sure that the federal government will be a good partner for the young people of this country who are taking out loans to invest in their education.”


  • 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 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.

  • Senator Manchin supported S. 2343, the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012, which would extend the current 3.4% interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford student loans for one year.  The cost of the bill is offset by requiring those with incomes over $250,000 to include, for purposes of employment taxes, income received from an S-corp.  

  • Senator Manchin voted against S. 2366, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which also extends the current 3.4% interest rate for one year.  The cost of the bill is offset by repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides grant assistance to states and other entities for prevention, wellness, and other public health-related programs.  West Virginia has been awarded $9.9 million in Prevention Fund grants. 

  • Subsidized Stafford student loans are awarded based on financial need.  The federal government pays the interest on Subsidized loans while the student is in school, during the grace period, and during authorized deferment.  About 70 percent of students who qualify for subsidized loans have a family income of less than $50,000.  The Department of Education estimates that about 30 percent of undergraduates have this type of loan.