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June 21, 2013

Doubling student loan rates have parents worried


Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., called for a vote on legislation which would extend the current 3.4 percent vote for the next two years.

“Republican Speaker John Boehner should allow a vote on H.R. 1595, straightforward legislation to freeze the current student loan interest rate, and help students and families who are struggling with college costs,” Shea-Porter said in a statement.

Tara Payne, vice president of college planning at New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation, has met with parents around the state who are concerned about the hikes.

“People are struggling to pay the bill for college as it is,” Payne said. “Now , if you add this burden of possible increase on interest rate, that really hurts the vulnerable students who have qualified for the subsidized loans because they need them.”

Payne said she believes higher rates go against the nation’s education goals.

“We want a workforce who has gone to higher education,” she said. “This is counterintuitive to things we’ve been telling families. This policy isn’t really matching up with goals for our nation.”

Sherri Averill of Plaistow will be sending her daughter Annie to Brandeis in January. She said she doesn’t know why Congress wouldn’t act to prevent the hike.

“I just don’t understand why we aren’t valuing higher education,” she said. “If people in this country do well it can benefit our entire society. It needs to be more manageable.”

Averill said her daughter was fortunate to receive several scholarships but couldn’t imagine what it would be like for some other families.

“I’m just at a disbelief at the enormous cost of the education,” she said. “I’m sure it’s a deterrent to a lot of people and just a feeling of hopelessness.”

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