State PIRGs' Higher Education Project
218 D Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546-9707

Ivan Frishberg

Ellynne Bannon


Friday, December 14, 2001

CONTACT: Ellynne Bannon
(202) 546-9707

The State PIRGs' Higher Education Project Applauds Senate Passage of Student Loan Interest Rate Legislation (S. 1762)
Statement of Ellynne Bannon, Higher Education Advocate

We are very pleased by the Senate passage of the Johnson student loan interest rate bill (S.1762). This legislation is an important step in making college more affordable for millions of Americans. S.1762 will lower interest rates on Federal student loans and even conservative estimates show that it will save the typical student borrower $680 over the life of their loan.

Over the last several months, we've worked closely with other student advocates and the lending community to develop a compromise that will deliver low cost loans to student borrowers and maintain the stability of the guaranteed student loan program. We're confident that S.1762 does this and we applaud the passage of this provision.

As tuition costs skyrocket, and grant aid decreases, increasing numbers of students are turning to loans as the primary mechanism to finance a college education. The typical student graduates with more than $16,000 in debt. One third of all seniors graduate with more than $20,000 in student loan debt. S.1762 is a key step to ensuring that college is affordable for the average American.

We urge the U.S. House of Representatives to take up and pass S.1762 before Congress adjourns for the year.

State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy groups. The Higher Education Project was established in 1994 to secure more aid for students, with a focus on additional grants, reduced debt, and better service to students in the federal financial aid system.