Murkowski Votes to Protect College Students from Rate Hike

“Young Americans Deserve a Fair Shake, but Not Through a Tax Hike”

Senator Lisa Murkowski today voted in favor of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, which – in addition to providing critical resources for key Alaska priorities and extending Secure Rural Schools and PILT programs – maintains the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized federal student loans, which was scheduled to double on July 1st.  The bill passed 74-19 and Murkowski had the following statement after the vote:

“I just had ten immensely motivated recent high school graduates working in my office, who want to get a fair shot at starting their careers after college,” said Murkowski.  “In today’s economy, they are already facing an uphill climb in this job market.  I am pleased we found a way to offset this expense that won’t undercut America’s small business community through an added expense.  Young Americans deserve a fair shake, but not through a tax hike.”

Today’s vote will keep the interest rate on subsidized student loans – scheduled to rise to 6.8% on July 1st – at 3.4%. An agreement on how to pay for the freeze includes changing the formulas for employers’ pension contributions and premiums, and provisions to encourage students to graduate on time.   An earlier attempt to keep the rate low would have been paid for by raising tax levels on a category of small businesses, possibly hampering their plans to hire new employees.