By CARLOS GALLEGO
AAP staff writer
Washington, D.C. (May 10, 2012) — More than 7 million students overall will be impacted by the increase of the Stafford Subsidized student loan, nearly 200,000 students in Minnesota will be hit if Congress does not act.
According to the Kiren Ahuja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on July 1st if the Stafford subsidized Student Loan goes up from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. This will mean an average $1,000 increase in the student’s debt once they leave school.
Another special feature of the Stafford Loan is that the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled in higher education. She added that families are becoming more and more concerned on how it will be possible to pay for their children’s education.
Kiren Ahuja noted the Obama Administration has been committed to create a favorable financial aid program for students. President Obama and Sectary of Education Arne Duncan have worked hard to develop a program that encourages students to attend higher education. This package has included a huge investment in the Pell Grant, limiting the interest level on student loans, increasing work study and trying to make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.
Also during President Osama’s April 21st Weekly Address that for the 1st time Americans owes more on their student debt than on their credit cards. Currently, the average student debt is $25,000. Obama is emphatic about making higher education affordable for everyone and not making it a luxury.
President Obama’s commitment to education was a priority he set on early in his presidency as he sees it as a wise investment for America. The US used to be first in the World with regard to college educated, the US has now dropped to 16th worldwide and Obama has a goal of regaining the number one spot by 2020.
Ahuja explained who the increase can have an adverse impact on many Asian Americans. She also noted that there continue to be many stereotypes which picture all AAPIs as the model student. Unfortunately, according to her this is not accurate, in fact, only 11 percent or less of Laotians, Hmong or Cambodians in the United States has bachelor’s degrees Asian Americans have experienced the greatest student growth at the community college level.
This in part has to do with the expense. Currently students with college degrees earn twice as much as those with only a high school diploma.
Ahuja is keenly aware of the importance of addressing these issues. She is well-versed in the needs of the Asian and American Pacific Islander communities. Prior to her position at the White House she served as the founding executive director of The Center for Asian Pacific American Women, serving in that post for five years.
Those who are interested in voicing their opinions can TWEET at Don’t Double My Rates or go to www.whitehouse.gov/dont-double-my-rates.