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Schumer optimistic deal can be reached to negate student loan interest hike

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MASSENA - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) says he remains confident Congress will be able to reach a deal that will prevent the interest rate on federal student loans from climbing from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.

The senator made his comments when speaking to reporters Monday following the groundbreaking ceremony for Alcoa’s Massena modernization project on Monday. The interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans doubled Monday when Congress was unable to find a compromise by the July 1 deadline.

“To allow student loans to increase from 3.4 to 6.8 percent is outrageous. College is becoming more and more important to American families and to the American economy. Kids with college degrees make very good salaries throughout their years. Kids with just high school degrees don’t anymore in large measure, and yet college, as important as it is, is getting more and more expensive,” he said.

“There are some in the Congress who actually want the government to make money off of the student’s back, ” he said.

“In other words, that the federal government should charge an interest rate, that they would not only get repaid, but make money, that’s wrong. They’re mainly in the house of representatives. We are fighting very, very hard to say, ‘No, keep the rate at 3.4.’ For the federal government to make money off the backs of hard working students who are just trying to provide a good life for themselves and their families is outrageous.” Sen. Schumer charged.

He said he remains confidence a compromise will be found on the student loan issue when lawmakers return to Washington next week. “What we’re fighting for right now is a one year extension, a freeze at 3.4 so we can come up with a longer-term compromise. I’m optimistic that when we come back to Washington next week, that that’s what we will get. If we do it, it will be retroactive. Now, this doesn’t effect existing loans, it only effects new loans that come forward, but that’s bad enough,” he said.

“What about kids who are starting college? What about kids who are starting graduate school? To me, one of the major things I’ve tried to do in office is to make college affordable to middle class and working class people. Right now, you can take $2,500 off of your federal taxes to help defray the cost of tuition for all middle class families whose incomes are as high as $200,000. That’s almost everybody,” Senator Schumer said.

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