Eagle Times: Kuster stumps for lower interest rates
CLAREMONT — Most Americans want to be able to work hard, buy a house, and get their children into college, said U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.
“It shouldn’t be too much to ask,” Kuster said.
Kuster went to River Valley Community College on Wednesday to meet with staff and students to discuss a looming change to the interest rates on student loans.
The interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans are set to double in July, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, unless Congress steps in to keep the rates where they are now.
Kuster has so far visited five colleges in New Hampshire talking to people about how the interest rate hike would impact their lives.
“It is a struggle for middle class families to be able to afford higher education,” she said.
For River Valley student Ally Maldanodo, going back to school and getting a degree could mean a big boost in income for her family. Unfortunately, to do this she will need student loans.
“We’re not a wealthy family, we haven’t been able to save,” she said.
Now, Maldanodo is looking at the prospect of paying for her education at the same time she will have to send her son off to college. There’s little choice for her family except to get student loans for her son’s education.
“He has to get loans,” she said.
Colline Dreyfuss just got her daughters through college and is now going back to school herself, studying at River Valley.
“I could not have afforded to go back to River Valley without financial aid,” Dreyfuss said.
With families paying for parents and children to go through college, Kuster said raising the interest rates on loans would hurt many families. College is the best way to advance a career, and make enough money to start a family and buy a home, she said.
“There are not a lot of jobs you can do with a K-12 education now,” she said.
Kuster plans to bring the stories of the many students and teachers she has met to the halls of Congress as she works to keep the interest rates at the lower 3.4 percent.
“I want to make sure people have the opportunity for higher education,” she said.