Congress might help Americans pay for college…by raiding health services?
The interest rate for some federally subsidized student loans could double this summer unless Congress acts. Unfortunately, the House’s solution has been to raid funds from the health reform legislation.
Obviously we want to prevent a spike in the cost of college for students and families, but not at the expense of health services. Both programs help ensure the security of many of the same working-class American families; pitting them against each other is lunacy.
Without congressional action by July 1st, low-and-moderate income students across the U.S. will be at risk for their loans to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. If this increase occurs, the average student will see their education costs go up by about $1,000 per year of school, according to a report released last week by the Young Invincibles, Center for American Progress, Campus Progress, and U.S. PIRG.
The House would raid health reform’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to prevent the student loan increase. According to the latest breakdown on the HHS website, this fund is currently supporting child immunizations, breastfeeding promotion, nutrition and anti-obesity activities, tobacco prevention, racial and ethnic approaches to community health, and programs to help communities fight chronic diseases.
These health programs are essential for those most vulnerable, while providing a cost savings to taxpayers over the long-term. Voices strongly encourages Congress to pass a student loan bill that doesn’t risk the health of our nation’s children and families.