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January 17, 2007

Kagen Votes to Make College More Affordable
Interest Rates on Student Loans Cut in Half

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Steve Kagen, M.D. voted to make college more affordable and accessible for middle class families by cutting the interest rate on subsidized student loans for undergraduates in half– from 6.8% to 3.4%.

With today’s vote, Rep. Kagen continues to fulfill his promise to improve the quality of life for the hard-working families of Northeast Wisconsin.

“This bill makes a college education more affordable for the hard-working families of Northeast Wisconsin,” said Rep. Kagen. “This is especially important now,” Rep. Kagen said. “Since 2001, tuition and fees at public colleges and universities have risen 41 percent faster than inflation. Interest rates are also up – putting college out-of-reach for more and more students.”

“In Wisconsin, nearly 76,000 college students have student loans – and all of them will benefit from this bill,” Rep. Kagen said. “Four-year college students in Wisconsin starting school in 2011 with subsidized student loans will save $4,280 over the life of their loans.”

“This Congress is doing everything possible to make sure no qualified student is prevented from going to college because of the price,” Kagen said. “Cutting interest rates on student loans is only the first step we will take in making college more affordable. Later this year, we will increase the maximum Pell Grant scholarship and take other important steps to reduce the financial barriers to a college education.”

The bill cuts the interest rate in half in five steps over the next five years: from 6.8% to 6.12% in 2007; 5.44% in 2008; 4.76% in 2009; 4.08% in 2010; and 3.4% in 2011.

The House passed the bill this afternoon by a vote of [XXX] to [XXX].

The bill is fully paid for by making modest reductions in certain lender and guaranty agency subsidies in order to make the student loan program more efficient and effective for students and for American taxpayers.

This bill is supported by dozens of organizations, including the American Council on Education, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, American Association for State Colleges and Universities, American Association of Community Colleges, Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, College Board, College Parents of America, and the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Curtis Ellis
202 225-5665 (office)