Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Student Government Association (SGA) Presidents from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Monroe Park Campus and Virginia Union University (VUU) joined a conference call today that was hosted by President Barack Obama to encourage Congress to prevent college loan rates from doubling. During the national call, the President encouraged students and public officials to request Congressional action to prevent student loan rates from doubling for more than 7.4 million students, adding an average of $1000 to their debt. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on college interest loan rates on May 8. Students participating on the President's call were asked to spread the word by using social media and the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate to encourage Congress to act.
"We need to do everything we can to put higher education within reach of every resident," said Mayor Jones. "Higher education cannot be a luxury that is obtainable by only a small few. Access to higher education is something that every family must be able to afford."
Kiara Lee, current VUU SGA President said, "Raising the current college loan interest rates means I have to pay back more money as I am seeking employment at the very beginning of my career. How can Virginia or our Nation compete internationally in science and math when students can't afford to go to school?"
Michael Evans, 2012-2013 VUU SGA President stated, "Raising college loan rates doesn't make sense, especially when I think of my situation coming from a large family. Rising tuition costs also puts families and students at a disadvantage, and accompanied with high interest rates may cause some not to attend institutions of higher learning."
Asif Bhavangri, current VCU Monroe Park Student Government Association President stated, "I couldn't agree more with what President Obama is doing. My parents came to this country from India with little to nothing in their pockets and have really engrained in our heads the value of what a good education can do for you in this country."
Jae Lee, 2012-2013 VCU Monroe Park SGA President said, "I think that the Obama administration is doing great work in helping lower our costs. With increases in work study and Pell Grants, President Obama is clearly on our side. I personally think that it is vital for us as students and residents of Richmond to be more informed on how we can both contact our legislatures and be more efficient with our personal income. Hopefully, we as students can do our part in voting to help lower our tuition and loan costs."