CHICAGO – With interest rates on student loans set to double within a week, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is working with Illinois students to lobby Congress to take action. For the second year in a row, Simon is encouraging students across the state to urge Congress to stop interest rates from doubling on July 1.
“The cost of college is a growing barrier for students to enroll in and complete college,” said Simon, the state’s point person on education reform. “If Congress allows interest rates to double, higher education will become too pricey for many more middle class families.”
Student loan interest rates had previously been expected to double during the summer of 2012; however, students nationwide demanded change. Young people took to Facebook and Twitter asking their elected officials to take immediate action, and President Obama signed a temporary rate freeze. Simon has advocated for passage of a long-term solution that would avert the need for last-minute, piecemeal fixes.
In her first two years in office Simon visited each of Illinois’ 48 community colleges and 12 public, four-year universities, hearing time and again that the cost of education is a growing strain on students and families throughout the state. Using that network, Simon on Wednesday will urge members of the Illinois delegation to endorse a solution and take action to prevent student loan rates from doubling.
The hike on federal subsidized loans to undergraduates would cost the average Illinois student more than $1,000 each year. In Illinois, there are more than 360,000 borrowers who would be affected.
To join in the effort, post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate, or find contact information for your elected representative here.
“Students need to explain what $1,000 means to them, whether that’s books, housing or the ability to enroll in the first place,” Simon said. “Higher education is an equalizer. We cannot let students be priced out of school.”