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Dear Senator/Representative: As student government leaders of our institutions of higher education, we are greatly concerned with the potential increase in student loan interest rates. While this issue is being debated in Congress, with the July 1 deadline looming, we are joining our voices throughout Utah to speak out against any increase in student loan interest rates. The potential increase, set to raise the rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, would be detrimental to students. Many of us are struggling to make our way through higher education in order to better our lives and contribute positively to society. We have great hope that our academic endeavors will benefit our future selves, families and community. However, we are faced with the continuing challenges of the recovering economic recession and the difficult search for employment upon graduation. Graduate students were already dealt a harsh blow earlier this year when the federal government dissolved subsidized loans at the graduate school level. Inaction regarding the upcoming student loan issue is simply unacceptable. According to the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA), 142,000 students in Utah are currently recipients of Stafford Loans. A total of 7.4 million undergraduates currently have subsidized student loans, according to higher education sources. Nationally, the current weak state of the economy requires that we support an increased availability of higher education. Students have continued to shoulder the burden and risk of financing their academic pursuits through student loans as higher-education budgets have been reduced. An increase in interest rates at this point could potentially create a myriad of economically detrimental outcomes that would not help the economic recovery and vitality of our state and the nation. Not only is it challenging for students to afford a post-secondary education, but also, more than ever, the post-recession economy will have more jobs that require higher education. “By 2018, about two-thirds of all employment will require some college education or better,” according to a forecast of educational demand to 2018, from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. We must provide for the future economy by making the attainment and affordability of a post-secondary degree possible for the current and future workforce. We support the extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate on all Stafford Loans. Low interest rates on the loans are an essential component to providing for Utah and America’s strong future economy; an increase in student loan rates places an undue and untimely burden on students and the future economy. United, as Utah students and your constituents, we believe it is critical you take action to prevent any increase in student loan interest rates.


Associated Students of the University of Utah- Government Relations


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