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NEW: Brown Votes For Cap on Student Loan Rate

Friday, June 29, 2012

 

Despite his previous voting history, Senator Scott Brown (R) was supportive of the bipartisan effort to cap the costs, keeping the rate at 3.4%.

Brown praised the Senate, saying, "By passing this bipartisan agreement to keep the student loan rates low without raising taxes, we have given college students and parents a little more breathing room.”

“However, it is crucial that we do more to rein in the rising cost of going to college,” he added. “Schools need to provide greater transparency so parents and students have a clearer picture of what they are paying for with their hard-earned money."

The average student borrower in Massachusetts already graduates with an average of $25,000 in student loans. The doubling of the interest rate would have added approximately $1,000 for every year a student takes out a loan, adding up to more than $4,000 over a four-year education.

Past Votes

In the past, Brown voted against keeping the cost down due to the increase that taxpayers would face and offered his own solution to the problem.

Brown introduced two bills to help keep the interest rates low. Included in this package is a one-year extension of the 3.4% interest rate for Stafford loans and a proposal to increase the transparency of higher education costs. He also voted for a Republican sponsored bill that would have capped the increase.

The current extension will be paid for by reducing the improper payments made by the federal government, unlike the bill he voted down, which will be subsidized with tax money.

Brown’s opponent in the upcoming race for the Senate seat, Elizabeth Warren (D), has made education a priority in her platform.

“It has become more and more essential for young people to get some kind of post-high school education – whether college or advanced technical training,” Warren said in a statement issued today. “We have a choice: are we going to tell our young people that they are on their own, or are we going to invest in them – and in our own future?”

Warren, who slammed Brown on his last vote to increase the cap believes that Brown’s previous vote hurts students and families.

“I believe we must invest in our future, and that means investing more in our public colleges and universities, it means supporting advanced technical training programs, and it means getting serious about strengthening grant programs and forgiving loans for those that serve their communities,” she said.

Criticism from Both Sides

Brown faced heated criticism at his last vote from Democrats.

“Scott Brown should stand with Massachusetts families, not Washington, DC Republicans, and stop blocking efforts to keep loan interest rates low and college affordable for middle-class families.” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh. “His political games are going to cost thousands of college students in every corner of the Commonwealth an average of $1,000 a year."

Days before the vote, Brown sent Warren a letter, asking for her to support a bipartisan efforts to keep the loan rate down.

“I recognize that the agreement does not raise billions in new taxes on small family-owned businesses, which was clearly your stated preference,” he said in the letter. “Instead of increasing taxes on small businesses, the compromise makes changes to pension law that will save money for the federal government and also help to improve our economy.”

 

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