Sherrod Brown: Now’s no time to hike rates on college loans

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Sherrod Brown: Now’s no time to hike rates on college loans

USA Today – With college costs climbing, and more jobs demanding higher education, we should be clearing barriers to college rather than creating them.

Student loan debt has reached nearly $1 trillion โ€” exceeding credit cards and auto loans. The average Ohio student graduates from a four-year college with nearly $27,000 in loans. Just as we help small businesses with low-interest loans to expand operations and hire new workers, so should we help college students.

In 2007, President Bush signed into law a bipartisan bill that lowered interest rates on loans for students based on need. However, these rates are scheduled to double, to 6.8%, on July 1.

The Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act, which I’ve introduced with Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, would prevent interest rates from increasing for 7.4 million American students. It costs money to do so. But that cost is fully offset by closing a loophole so that a small group of wealthy professionals โ€” who have household incomes above $250,000 โ€” will pay what they owe to Medicare and Social Security.

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