Over the next five years the College Student Relief Act will cut the student loan interest rate in half for undergraduate students with subsidized loans, and that’s why I’m such a strong supporter of this legislation.

Since 2001, tuition and fees have increased by 41 percent after inflation at four-year public colleges and by 17 percent after inflation at four-year private colleges.

If we do not act, financial barriers will prevent more than 4 million students from attending a four-year college and more than 2 million from attending any college in the coming decade.

That would be a crisis for millions of hard-working families – but it also would be a crisis for our country’s ability to compete in the 21st century economy.

That means we must invest more in our most valuable resource – our people – and this bill would do just that.

For example, this bill will save the average student borrower who starts at a four-year college in California next year nearly $2500 over the life of her loan – and will save the same student who starts in 2011 nearly $5000 over the life of her loan.

Those savings could make all the difference in the world in the lives of millions of Americans and in the life of our country.