Ellison pushes student loan bill

If the bill is allowed to expire in July, Stafford loan interest rates will jump to 6.8 percent.

Aaron DuBois

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn, encouraged citizens Friday to voice their support in maintaining lower student loan rates.

Ellison said he would co-sponser a bill that would prevent an increase in student loan interest rates. The current Stafford loan rate is at 3.4 percent and will rise to 6.8 percent if the bill expires in July.

Ellison, whose district encompasses the University of Minnesota, said the bill would fulfill the President’s request from his State of the Union Address to keep college affordable.

“I definitely stood up and clapped hard during that part,” Ellison said during a conference call.

Numbers released by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education show that the cost of attending a Minnesota public four-year institution is $18,454, slightly higher than the national average at $18,205. According to Ellison the current average Minnesota student loan debt is $29,000.

“In the last few decades America has somehow decided that a college education is more of a private investment than a social good,” he said.

Ellison believes that if the cost of college goes up in the U.S., its global competitiveness will decline as well as individual achievement and income.