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Schumer backs bill to block interest rate hikes for student loans

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer visited Rochester Institute of Technology on Wednesday to announce his support for legislation to stave off an interest rate increase for student loans.

On July 1, the interest rates on federally-subsidized Stafford loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent unless Congress takes action to block the rate increase that could add thousands of dollars in interest payments to the cost of attending college.

In 2007, Congress lowered the rate on federally-subsidized Stafford loans — currently held by thousands of Rochester area students. Without an extension, interest rates will double for students receiving these loans, driving up the cost of going to college as much as an additional $3,800 over a 10-year repayment period.

Schumer was joined by RIT President William Destler; Verna Hazen, RIT’s assistant vice president and director of financial aid and scholarships; as well as local students from RIT and area colleges who have benefitted from the Stafford loan program.

Schumer is backing a Senate bill (S. 2051) to extend the reduced interest rate.

Thousands of undergraduate students in the Rochester area receive federally-subsidized Stafford loans.