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Paying Back Student Loans - Grads vs Banks vs Congress

by Liz Schwartz Wednesday, Aug. 06, 2003 at 10:03 AM

One would think that with the horrible economy, graduates who have tried to better themselves with higher education would be able to take advantage of the low interest rates when paying back their student loans. Only it's not that easy...

Thousands upon thousands of graduates in the United States have taken out student loans to pay for their education... and many more will continue to do so as the cost of higher education continues to rise. By the year 2000, approximately 70% of students took our loans to pay for college and post-graduate education. Many of those students consolidated their loans after graduation, unaware that a provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965 would prevent them from ever refinancing those loans.

Now, interest rates on Federal Student Loans have fallen to all time low percentages, a fact much publicized in the media, but very few media outlets mention that thre exists a considerable portion of the population locked into higher interest rates with no hope of refinancing.

Recently, Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT 3) introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives: H.R. 2505, The College Loan Assistance Act of 2003. This bill proposes to amend the Higher Education Act to allow borrowers to refinance their consolidated loans. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on June 18, 2003, the day it was introduced. That is where it sits today.

If any relief from locked-in high interest rates is to be afforded in the near future to the many student borrowers who have consolidated their loans, the general public must be made fully aware of this important issue. No one is really talking about it though.

You or I could go out and buy an SUV right now for less than 1% interest... and may be paying up to 8 or 9% on the money we owe for our educations.

We want to do something about it at www.collegeloanassistanceact.org. We've organized letters to the media, house representatives and senators to get the information out. We've written a petition to be forwarded to congress and have created a message board to share ideas on how to get the word out. Please come take a look and let's take back our educations.
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