Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson At Odds Over Student Loans

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) find themselves on opposite sides over whether or not to keep student loan rates down through government subsidization. While both from Florida, the Senators reflect a general party divide between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.

Proponents of increased student aid such as student loans say that these programs provide opportunities for Americans to get ahead through education.  Many critics however, point out that each time student aid and loan limits are increased, so too does the cost of education which leads to tuition prices outpacing the overall inflation rate.

“I think I am one of the only senators here who still has a student loan.  As someone with a student loan and with a state with so many people with student loans, I support a hundred percent making sure that the interest rates on student loans do not go up," Rubio said in a press release.  

“I cannot support the way the Democrats want to do it, however, because, they want to do it by raising taxes on small businesses, very small businesses.  The kinds of small businesses that give jobs to graduates who not only need low interest rates but need jobs in order to pay their student loans.  We have a plan to keep student interest rates low that doesn’t raise taxes, and I hope the Democrats will give us a vote and a chance to pass that.”

Last week, Nelson sent an e-mail to his Florida constituents supporting keeping student loan interest rates low:

"I recently met with a group of students at one of Florida’s largest universities - and was really moved. We talked mostly about the cost of college and student loans.  
Several students said an increase in interest rates on student loans - which could happen very soon if Congress doesn’t act - would not only hurt them now, but definitely put graduate school out of reach for them.

It was five years ago that I voted for legislation to lower government-backed student loan rates to the present-day level of 3.4 percent. But those lower interest rates are set to expire July 1.  After that, they will go back up to 6.8 percent - which would an add an estimated $1,000 in debt to each student loan.

Fortunately, we still have a chance to extend the 2007 measure and keep the interest rate at 3.4 percent. In fact, a vote is scheduled in the Senate on May 8.

You can bet I’ll be supporting it again, because I believe we have to do all we can to help keep college affordable."

Below is Senator Rubio's YouTube video on the issue of student loan interest rates.

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