Noting that more than 45,000 Rhode Island college graduates would face higher costs because of a scheduled doubling of the interest rate on student loans, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed told current students at Roger Williams University on Wednesday, May 1, that he is working to avoid the hike.
"They rely upon this need-based financial aid in order to make it through school, and we are at a moment in history where we need all the talent and all the educated men and women that we can muster," Reed said in a speech at the Global Heritage Hall Atrium just before noon. "The reality is that, students today are graduating with tremendous debt. It's not only affecting us from an educational standpoint, but from a macroeconomic standpoint."
Reed explained that he is working with Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would freeze the interest rate for two years to avoid the July 1 increase and to give Congress time "to work out a long-term solution."
Two graduating students, Bre'Anna Jolaine Mitts-Nixon and Adam Semple, Political Science Professor June Speakman of Barrington, and RWU President Donald J. Farish joined Reed in talking about the potential impact of the interest rate hike, from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.
Check out the accompanying video from Reed's visit to Roger Williams University.