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

Ivan Frishberg

Ellynne Bannon


To: Student Activists
From: Ellynne Bannon, State PIRGs Higher Education Advocate
Date: February 5, 2002

**** Call to thank your Members of Congress for lowering the cost of borrowing student loans ****

Late last month Congress passed 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, saving the typical student borrower $680 over the life of their loan, even by conservative estimates.

Student loans have become a primary mechanism to financing a college education. They bridge the financial gap between a family's available resources, plus any grant aid, and the total cost of education. Rising levels of student debt all too frequently turn the dream of college into a nightmare of debt. This proposal will help to prevent the cost of student loans from outweighing the benefits of higher education.

New data from the Department of Education shows that the average student at a four-year public college graduates with $16,243 in federal loan debt. At four-year private colleges the average debt total is $17,613. In addition, thirty-three percent of all borrowers graduate with more than $20,000 in debt.

Please take the time to call your representatives and thank them for supporting the Johnson student loan interest rate bill and for their commitment to make college more affordable. You can contact your members of Congress via the Student Aid Alliance Hotline, (800) 574-4AID.