Saturday, June 03, 2006


Students/Parents: are you prepared for July 1?

Thanks to conservative enablers like Sue Kelly, interest rates on federal student loans are going up dramatically. Under a Republican spending bill interest rates on PLUS loans are going up 2.4 percentage points, from 6.1 to 8.5%. Stafford loans are increasing 1.5 percentage points, from 5.3 to 6.8% (link). Not only did Kelly vote to increase these interest rates, but she also voted to decrease federal funding of student loan programs by over $12 billion. So, there's less money now available for student loans and if you are able to get a loan, the interest rates are skyrocketing.

Our college graduates are now leaving school with enormous debt and it's only going to get worse. However, there is something you can do to at least ease the pain just a bit. Parents and students have until June 30th to consolidate loans and lock in lower rates. On July 1st, the higher rates take effect and let's just hope the dreams of many students don't die on that day.

Every time Sue Kelly and the GOP vote to give unnecessary tax cuts to the very wealthy, it's the middle class that pays for it. It's something to think about the next time Kelly comes to your community and professes to be a moderate who fights for her constituents. Her actions speak louder than words and those actions make it clear that she represents the very wealthy and big business at the expense of the middle class. If you see Kelly, be sure to ask her why the middle class must pay the price of her tax cuts for the wealthy and handouts to big business.

And to add even more burden to college-bound teens, the new tax cut for the rich that Sue voted for includes a provision that college funds for 14- to 17-year-olds will now be taxed at their parents' tax rate instead of their own. That will raise their capital-gain rate from 5% to 15% and their tax on interest from 10% to whatever their parents' rate is--35% or so. I thought Sue was against tax increases. Oh, that's only when it's on rich people.
I am 21 and a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The evening of the vote to cut student aid, I went to the Capitol with some fellow students to watch the vote. Before the roll call, we were able to go to the entry to the building and speak to some undecided members. We had the chance to speak to Sue Kelly too, but she was no where near "undecided".

I introduced myself to her as a constituent, and told her my situation as a student that depends heavily on financial assistance, as she approached me. She continued to walk right past me and did not respond to anything I had just said to her. I proceded to ask her how she would be voting and the only thing she said was, "So, you're from Newburgh?".

Once the vote began, Kelly's vote was clear as could be: YES to the student aid cuts. What was even more sickening was watching her schmooze on the House floor with Tom DeLay as the vote was taking place. Instead of standing up for her district, she (in typical fashion) voted with the most conservative members of the House without a second thought.

These cuts that she fully endorsed will affect me personally, but they will even more heavily affect my brother who is yet to enter college. Unfortunately, he may not even have the same options as me when choosing a school because his choice will most likely be determined by how much debt he will emerge with.

Sue Kelly says "eh, it's just college."

Sorry, Sue. College? Um, KIND OF A BIG DEAL.
Mike, you should share your story with the general public. If you haven't done so already, a letter to the editor of some of the local newspapers would be a great way to inform the public of what a low priority Sue Kelly places on education as well as how she brushes off the concerns of her own constituents.
Mike, you should definitely contact us and we'd be happy to help you get your story out to the media. Your story is very compelling. Send us an email to take19 (at)
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