DeLauro blasts student college loan interest rate spike

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes a part of Shelton, is calling for Congress to end a stalemate that has caused an increase in federally-subsidized student college loan rates to go into effect July 1.

“Congress should take immediate action to retroactively keep the subsidized student loan interest rate at 3.4%,” DeLauro said.

“Every American should have the opportunity to get an education and a better life, and it is unthinkable that we are making it harder for them to do that,” she said. “Well over half of students take out loans, including 68 percent of women.”

The subsidized student loan interest rate has doubled to 6.8%, impacting more than seven million students.

Blames the Republicans

DeLauro is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Education. She is blaming Republicans for the situation, while Republicans are blaming Democrats — especially Senate Democrats, who appear to be holding out for an agreement more to their liking.

“The Republican majority should stop playing games and work with Democrats on a real solution to keep higher education affordable for our hard working students,” DeLauro said.

Most students now get loansLast year, student debt topped $1 trillion for the first time and now stands at $1.1 trillion. Two-thirds of the Class of 2010 graduated with student loan debt; the average was $25,000.

Every year Congress fails to act will cost students with subsidized loans $1,000 in additional interest payments, according to DeLauro. In the recently concluded academic year, there were 73,051 student borrowers in Connecticut who will be impacted by the loan rate increase, she said.

Unemployment high among this group

“These facts are staggering on top of the fact young Americans have the highest unemployment rate of any group,” DeLauro said.

“Over the last 30 years, the average tuition at four-year state universities has almost quadrupled,” she continued. “After accounting for population growth and inflation, critical federal programs like Work Study, TRIO, GEAR UP, and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, have been cut by almost a third over the last decade.”

Two congressional districts in Shelton

Shelton is divided between two congressional districts. DeLauro is in her 12th term representing the Third District. She lives in New Haven.

Congressman Jim Himes, also a Democrat, represents the Fourth District that covers other parts of Shelton. Himes lives in Greenwich.