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Statement of U.S. PIRG Higher Education Associate Ethan Senack on President Obama’s State of the Union speech:
"In the annual State of the Union Address, President Obama called for an end to unsustainable student debt. He asked Americans to build access to the middle class by keeping the higher education gateway open for every citizen.
"Higher education is the right investment for our nation to rebuild its economy. In a time when students and families are struggling to make ends meet, congressional leaders need to be doing more, not less, to keep college accessible and affordable.
"If Congress doesn’t act, students and families will face dramatic cuts to student aid. In March, automatic cuts will decrease financial aid for more than two million of the nation’s neediest students. In July, the low interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans – temporarily extended last spring – will double, from 3.4% to 6.8%. Loan costs will rise by $1,000 per student for over 8 million students.
"Last year, a divided Congress put politics aside to do the right thing for students. We applaud the President for continuing his strong stand in support of college access, and we hope the same spirit of cooperation will prevail as we work to keep college an option for all Americans."
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. www.uspirg.org
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