Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013by Representative Chris Van Hollen
Posted on 2013-07-31
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, student loan debt in our country tops $1
trillion, burdening graduates with high repayment as they begin their
working lives and preventing them from making other purchases, like a
home or a car. This is a problem that requires a comprehensive solution
that includes affordable financial assistance and collaboration with
states and colleges to keep costs down.
Today's bill, while imperfect, will prevent rates from doubling immediately on loans for the neediest students. It locks in rates for each new loan, providing more certainty than the House Republican proposal, which I opposed when it passed the House earlier this year. It includes a cap, preventing rates from skyrocketing in the future. I remain concerned, however, about increasing rates for students in the long-term, and would urge future action on this issue as rates rise.
Ultimately, we must look at the alternatives available today. Had I been in the Senate, I would have voted against this bill in an effort to get a better long-term deal for students. However, now that it has passed the Senate and is before us on the House Floor with no opportunity for amendment, we are faced with a choice between keeping the doubled student loan rate or reducing it for this year's students. Therefore, I will vote for this bill today, but will seek to amend this law in the coming years should rates rise and further burden our nation's students.
Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will provide a good opportunity to revisit this issue and address college costs in a more comprehensive way, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on that effort.