NJ College Students Head To D.C. To Protest Student Loan Hikes [AUDIO]
The Rutgers students will meet with federal lawmakers about providing more funding for federal student aid programs. This year, students will focus on the need to keep federally subsidized loans affordable by freezing interest rates at 3.4 percent, averting a scheduled doubling of that rate.
The students will also urge lawmakers to fund the maximum Pell grants at $5,635 in fiscal year 2013. More than 16,000 Rutgers students - nearly one in three undergraduates - rely on Pell Grants to fund their education.
"We're going there to advocate for this freeze on interest rates for subsidized loans. Increasing these interest rates will completely impact thousands of students who are nearing graduation" said Valerie Weiss, a senior at Rutgers.
The students will also advocate for doubling federally supported work-study jobs over the next five years and speak out against further cuts to aid programs. Federal budget legislation over the past several years has cut student aid programs by approximately $30 billion.
"College is so expensive and students need help from the federal government. Pushing these interest rates higher and not fully funding Pell Grants would be detrimental to not only Rutgers students, but to the thousands of New Jersey college students across the state and even across the country" said Weiss.
The students will spend the day in Washington, D.C. at several meetings. Outgoing Rutgers President Richard McCormick will join them.