On July 8, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal visited Eastern to discuss student loan interest hikes that took place on July 1. Rates on subsidized Stafford student loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent after Congress was unable to reach agreement on extending the existing lower rate. Eastern students, faculty and staff listened as the Senator explained how the new interest rates could affect them. More than seven million students from across the country could face an additional $1,000 in student loan debt if the rates are not rolled back.
Blumenthal wants Congress to retroactively prevent the rate increase. He's also participating in a social media campaign against the rate hike. Democratic senators and White House officials say they expect a deal on bringing the rates back down to be reached before students return to campus.
Blumenthal is a cosponsor on the Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act, which would apply the same low interest rates to federal student loans as banks get -- about 0.75 percent.