WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after the U.S. Senate approved a one year fix to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling on 7.4 million students nationwide, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), who offered the Student Loan Affordability Act back in January of 2012, issued the following statement:

“Thanks to this agreement, millions of students across the country can breathe easier, knowing the loans they need to help pay for college won’t suddenly double overnight.  These loans are an economic lifeline for nearly 40,000 Rhode Island students. 

“Ensuring we have an educated workforce is vital to our economy. 

“We need to ensure today’s students have an opportunity to earn a degree without mortgaging their future.

“That is why last January, working with my colleague Joe Courtney (D-CT) in the House of Representatives, we introduced the Student Loan Affordability Act.  We saw this coming and knew we had to prevent this increase.  Initially, a majority of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle were not interested in addressing the problem.  In fact, they voted for two budgets that would have doubled the rates.  But we continued to make the case.  And with the help of President Obama, and countless students, parents, and organizations across the country like U.S. PIRG and Campus Progress, we were able to get the job done.  But more work remains.

“I will continue fighting for comprehensive, long-term solutions to keep student loans and college costs affordable.  We need to move beyond this short-term patch and take additional steps to ensure that college is affordable for every student with the talent and drive to further their education.  Earlier this month, we took an important step in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to allow an increase for Pell grants, which over the last 40 years have helped more than 60 million working-class families pay for college.

“Making college more affordable is one of the best investments we can make in America's economic future.  It is important that we keep the doors of higher education open to all deserving students.”