STAMFORD, Conn. — Congressman Jim Himes was at UConn Stamford Monday morning urging that he and his colleagues in the House of Representatives need to find $6 billion to keep interest rates down on student loans.
“It’s probably the very best investment people can make in themselves,” the Democrat said of the need to earn a college degree.
Himes said the amount needed to keep the interest rate on Stafford student loans at 3.4 percent is less than 1 percent of the country’s budget for defense, security and the wars, and there is excess money available for medical care. Cutting preventative health care, which has been proposed by the Republicans in the house, is not something Himes said he would do.
The interest rate on Stafford loans will double to 6.8 percent July 1 because of a sunset clause in legislation passed in 2007. He has co-sponsored a bill that will keep the rates as they are, but did say he was willing to compromise in order to help students.
Melanie Sabol, a student at Southern Connecticut State University and a Shelton resident who was at the conference, said if Congress doesn't do anything, she and many of her friends may not be able to afford to complete their degrees.
“Student loans would be killing us,” Sabol, 19, said. She has been in contact with Himes since approaching him about the issue as a homework assignment in a political science class, “Someone needs to step up.”