There has been a lot of talk this week about a bill in front of Congress that would double the interest rate on student loans. (For a comical take check out Jimmy Fallon and President Obama slow jamming the news on a recent show.) As someone that pays student loans every month, and will be taking more out soon as I go return to school this fall, I couldn’t just stand by. I wrote to my Congressional representatives to let them know how important it is to me and the millions of others with loans to keep it the same. While I try not to be too political on this blog, or on social media, in general, I felt that this issue was universally important and one that should be discussed. And it’s something that President Obama and Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney agree on.
**Quick note: I sent this to my Congressman and Senators and personalized it with their names when I emailed it to them via their websites, but for the sake of this blog post I made it generic. Also, I really was a Congressional intern and did log constituent letters such as these. It’s tedious but necessary for the democracy we live in. I also urge you to contact your Congressman and Senators, whether it’s about this issue, or another that you are passionate about.**
I am writing to urge you to ensure that student loan interest rates remain at 3.4%. As one of the millions of people paying off student loans, I hope that you take the time to consider what a higher interest rate means to those of us paying that bill month after month.
I was fortunate to have supportive parents who encouraged me to attend the college best for me, and I chose New York University. In no way will I ever regret my time at NYU, it helped me find my passion in life and start a career in print and online media, but that education came at a steep price: many student loans. I have spent the last two years since graduation paying as much as I can on those loans every month but I still have a long way to go.
On top of my current loans I will be adding to them in the coming year as I enter Graduate School. While I hope to secure scholarships to help pay for a program perfectly tailored to my interests, I know I will also need loans. I had the option of using my husband’s G.I. Bill, he is currently serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, but together we decided to save that money for our future children. Tuition is going up exponentially and we’d rather use that benefit to help pay for their schooling, not mine.
I have not defaulted once on a payment, and I try to pay more than my minimum monthly payment because I do not want to be in debt for the rest of my life. If interest rates go up I will owe even more. And to be honest, I would like to free up that money to save for a house, new car, vacation or my children’s education.
No matter what, there is no doubt that I will pay off my loans. But with tuition at an all-time high and education one of the most important factors in getting a job, the interest rate must remain the same for all students that depend on loans to succeed. While I am fortunate that my husband and I are both currently employed, not many of my classmates have that luxury, and they often must choose paying off their loans over going to the doctor. It already takes people half a lifetime to pay off their student loans, why make it any longer?
And to the staffer or intern that logged this email: thank you. I was a Congressional intern one summer and understand the daunting task of logging constituent letters and calls. I am thankful that you are there to track these requests and hope that I am one of many people urging the Congressman/Senator to help all students: past, present and future.
Congressman/Senator, I hope that you vote to keep the student loan interest rate at 3.4%. Thank you very much.