ArticleDownload Worksheet April 26th, 2012
Politicians Bicker Over Fate of Student Loan Interest RatesEconomics
A war of words over student loan interest rates shows how hard it is to fix government problems even when most politicians agree that keeping student loans affordable is in the country’s best interest.
This week, President Obama visited three universities and talked to young voters about a potential increase to student loan interest rates that will happen unless Congress acts. In a shrewd move of political messaging, he also appeared on a late night talk show and performed in a slow jam video on the topic that went viral.
During the president’s first stop at the University of North Carolina, he encouraged the young crowd use the Twitter hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate to voice their concerns about the loan rate increase. He also urged students to contact their members of Congress, adding that, “Michelle and I, we know about this firsthand…. We only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago. Think about that, I’m the President of the United States.”
Republican Mitt Romney, who is poised to run against Mr. Obama in the upcoming presidential election, has also urged Congress to extend the lower rates.
It’s still unclear what Congress will do. A one year extension would cost about $6 billion and Republican lawmakers are working “in hopes of finding a responsible solution that serves borrowers and taxpayers equally well,” according to Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota who is chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
What are Stafford loans?
The debate is about a law passed five years ago called the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. That law lowered the interest rate on federal Stafford student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. But the law is set to expire July 1 unless Congress votes to extend it. That would raise the interest rates for an estimated seven million students who currently have Stafford loans.
Interest rates are a percentage of the amount a person borrowed that they must pay back to a lender in addition to what they borrowed. Interest rates are generally how banks and loan institutions make money off of lending money to people.
A Stafford loan is money that the U.S. Department of Education lends to students to pay for college. The money itself comes from everyone’s taxes. Last year, undergraduate students borrowed about $7.4 million through the program.
Student loans reach record levels
The debate comes at a time when the amount of money owed in student loans grew larger than the amount owed on credit cards for the first time in history.
Today, all student loan holders in the U.S. collectively owe nearly $1 trillion. According to the New York Federal Bank, the average student loan balance is $23,000, which would cost a student about $220 per month for 10 years after graduation at the current rate of 3.4 percent, or $260 per month if the rate goes up to 6.8 percent.
Student loan activists in New York and some 20 other cities are gathering Wednesday, when student debt is expected to cross the trillion-dollar mark. Among their proposals are that the federal government should cover all higher-education costs.
–Compiled by Thaisi H. Da Silva for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Ten classroom resources for teaching students about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 4, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr.…Civil Rights MovementdiscriminationGovernment & CivicsI Have A Dreamlesson planMarch on WashingtonMartin Luther King Jr.racismSocial IssuesSocial Studies
Lesson plan: Brown v. Board of Education and the story of Prince Edward County Schools
Use this lesson plan to learn more about the life of Linda Brown and the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education case in the U.S. today. Continue readingBrown v. Board of Educationcivil rightsdesegregationeducationGovernment & CivicshistoryLinda BrownNAACPPlessy v. FergusonPrince Edward CountyracismsegregationSocial IssuesSocial StudiesSRLstudent proteststudent reporting labsSupreme Court
March For Our Lives: Ways to debrief with students this week
While other events make the news headlines, the March For Our Lives is likely still playing a key part in your students’ lives, even those who may not have attended any events over the weekend. Use these videos and student voice pieces to debrief on the March and discuss next steps forward. Continue readingcivil disobedienceFlorida shootingGovernment & Civicsgun controlgun policygun reformgun violenceMarch for Our LivesMedia LiteracyNational Rifle AssociationNational Walkout DayNewsHour WeekendNRAparklandschool shootingsSecond AmendmentSocial IssuesSocial Studiesstudent proteststudent walkoutsvotingwalkout
‘We were there. We were making history.’ Students reflect on the March For Our Lives
From registering voters to student reporting, from the role of race to the underrepresentation of trans youth voices, five students share their reflections on the March For Our Lives. Continue reading#NeverAgainCongressDonald TrumpGovernment & Civicsgun controlgun violenceLGBTQMarch for Our LivesMarjory Stoneman Douglas High SchoolparklandPeople of Colorraceschool shootingsSocial IssuesSocial Studiesstudent protestStudent Voicetrans youthtransgendervoting
Student Reporting Labs STEM Lesson Plan: Design your own Ice Age hiking trail!
Challenge your students to design their own scenic hiking trail based on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail. Continue readingcartographyenvironmentenvironmental scienceGeographyGeologygeosciencehikingIce AgeIce Age National Scenic TrailIce Age Scenic TrailIce Age Traillesson planmammoth walkmapsNational Park Servicenaturenext generation science standardsNGSSNPSplanScienceSRLSTEMstudent reporting labstopographyU.S. National Park ServiceWauwatosaWauwatosa West High SchoolWisconsinWisconsin Ice Age Trail