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

Director:
Ivan Frishberg

Advocate:
Ellynne Bannon

 

June 29, 2001

Urge Congress to Support Student Aid and to Keep Student Loan Rates Affordable

Currently Congress is considering a proposal to secure subsidies to the loan industry in order to keep the loan program going. Unfortunately, students are being told that they will have to pay for much of the increased subsidy with higher interest rates. Please contact your Senators and Members of Congress and urge them to oppose any agreement that gives the loan industry additional subsidies at the expense of students and that does not ensure that students receive the lowest cost loans possible.

This proposal comes at a time when students are struggling with increasing levels of debt. The average student graduates with more $13,300 in debt, an amount that is expected to increase when new figures are released this year. Over the past seven years student debt has more than doubled to $35 billion each year, and over the past 3 years the number of students graduating with debt over $20,000 doubled.

Also:

Call your Senators and Members of Congress today and urge them to prioritize student need-based aid in the 2002 appropriations process. It is key to contact members now as the appropriations process begins on July 9th after the congressional recess. Congress has been focusing on K-12 education, healthcare and tax relief. Members need to hear from students about the importance of federal financial aid to students and families.

Make sure to ask your representatives to support increased need-based awards to students, especially a $600 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,350. Pell Grants provide basic college assistance to financially disadvantaged students. The grants are the foundation of a low-income student's aid package. Without them, millions of students could not attend college.

Action:

Call your representatives today and urge them to a)oppose any agreement that gives the loan industry additional subsidies at the expense of students and that does not ensure that students receive the lowest cost loans possible; and b) to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $600 and to increase other student aid programs.

Call your Senators and Members of Congress by using the student aid hotline:
1 (800) 574-4AID.
Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
House Switchboard: (202) 225-3121