President Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech at the University of Iowa Field House at 1:20 this afternoon. He’s expected to deliver a similar message that he sounded Tuesday with addresses at the University of Colorado and the University of North Carolina.
“Tell them now’s not the time to double your interest rates on student loans,” Obama said. “Now’s the time to double down on the investments in a strong and secure middle class.” The interest rate on federally-subsidized Stafford student loans is scheduled to increase on July 1 from 3.4% to 6.8%.
President Obama is calling for congressional action to maintain the rate at its current level. University of Iowa Financial Aid Director Mark Warner says it’s important for interest rates to stay as they are so students have an affordable monthly rate.
“There are more challenges, I think, given the state of the economy, even though we’re improving slowly, but it still creates some challenges, I think, for students to repay their loans when they’re assuming other costs after graduation,” Warner said. The scheduled rate increase to 6.8% would impact about 7 million undergraduates. The White House reports it would raise costs by about $1,000 a person.
Prior to his speech, President Obama is meeting with five University of Iowa students to discuss his plan to hold down interest rates. The White House identified the students who are participating in the panel discussion as Myranda Burnett, a junior from Burlington; Blake Anderson, a junior from Eldridge; Jordan Garrison-Nickerson, a sophomore from West Des Moines; Marissa Boles, a senior from Melcher-Dallas; and Martin Lopez, a sophomore from Nichols.
All five students are using Stafford loans to help pay for their education.
By Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids