The high level of student debt disproportionately affect students from some of our most vulnerable APA subgroups who have traditionally come from low income backgrounds and are more financially needy. For example, contrary to the perception that APAs do not face any educational or economic barriers, the average Pell Grant amount for Asian/Pacific Islander students was $2,800 compared to $2,400 for White students in 2007-2008.1 In the first time in history, Americans owe more in student loans than credit cards. This is unacceptable and speaks to the growing problem this is becoming.
APALA & USSA are asking Congress to not play politics with our education and pass a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans.
The Senate is expected to vote on S. 2343, authored by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) which proposes closing tax loopholes that benefit America’s wealthiest citizens to pay for the student loan interest rate extension. This is unlike Representative Biggerts’ H.R. 4628, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which would have repealed sections of the Affordable Care Act. APALA & USSA stand by our support of the Affordable Care Act and will oppose any legislation that will make APA loan borrowers choose between health care and affordable education.
Ensuring APAs have access to low interest student loans is important to ensure higher education is accessible and affordable. We look forward to working with President Obama and Congress to expand grant funding programs like the Pell Grant and ensuring more people have access to federal financial aid.