Iowa students draft letter against loan rate increase - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa students draft letter against loan rate increase

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DECORAH (KWWL) -

This year, the average college graduate will leave school with around $35,000 in education-related debt.

But this week, 12 student senate presidents from across Iowa are coming together to speak out against another potential increase in student loan interest rates, by drafting a letter.

Originally drafted by Paul Esker of Luther College and Spencer Hughes of Iowa State, signatories of the letter include student representatives from schools including Central, Coe and Grinnell Colleges, in addition to the University of Iowa. Together, they represent over 150,000 Iowa students.

They say, it's critical that congress take action to stem the rising cost of higher education.

"We wanted to ask congress not to double our rate, and we wanted to ask for a long term solution to the crisis of skyrocketing student debt," Esker said.

If the increase occurs, rates for subsidized Stafford loans would grow from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. For the average student, that means nearly 900 dollars out of their pocket in interest payments alone. The increase is slated to occur automatically on July 1, if congress does not intervene.

Esker says that while this increase in revenue would help the government balance the budget, this burden shouldn't fall on students.

"Students are not the one that need to be taking care of the country's budget problems," Esker said. "Students are the future, students are the leaders of tomorrow. Students are the ones we need to educate, empower and support."

But Esker stressed that this affects more than just students, though there are still many of those.

"That's actually 222,000 Iowa borrowers, and for the state as a whole that means an economic decrease of 200 million dollars," Esker said.

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