Giving Students a Break

Today, Congress has an opportunity to provide millions of students with financial relief to help pay for the cost of a college education.

Since 2001, the cost to attend four-year colleges and universities has increased by 41 percent nation-wide. In Pennsylvania, we are ranked as one of the most expensive states in which to attend college: fifth highest for public colleges and universities and tenth highest for private colleges and universities. Hard working low- and middle-class students and their families need relief, and the College Student Relief Act of 2007 takes an important step in making college more affordable for them.

For subsidized student loans, interest rates will be cut in half over five years from the current rate of 6.8% to 3.4%. The average student with $13,800 in subsidized loan debt will save an estimated $4,400 over the life of their loan. This is real, meaningful savings for the thousands of students who attend college in my district and throughout western Pennsylvania.

As a father of two, I share the concerns of parents throughout my district and this country that worry constantly about how they are going to afford to send their children to college. By passing this legislation, Congress will alleviate some of the financial burden present on students and families and open the door for millions of students who otherwise may not be able to afford it to obtain a college education.

I will vote yes today on final passage of the College Student Aid Relief Act and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.