Alexis Frymoyer, a St. Petersburg resident and 2010 college graduate who has $40,000 in student loan debt, described during the conference call how her debt has paralyzed not only her financial future but that of her family.She is unable to pursue the remainder of education she needs because she cannot afford to take on more student loan debt. And she is unable to qualify for a mortgage beyond $40,000, which she said means she is forced to continue paying rental rates that are higher than a mortgage payment would be.Frymoyer worked four part-time jobs last year "just to make ends meet," she said. Her student loans will take an estimated 25 years to be paid off.Read additional stories Rebuild the Dream community members shared with the press below.Florida: Students, grads daunted by debt, despite degree, The News-PressFlorida: Stafford Loan drama scares students, Bradenton HeraldNevada: Student Loans Run Deeper Than College, CBS Local KXNT NewsRadioIllinois: Loan Moan, Alton Daily News/WBGZ RadioIllinois: Buddy, can you spare a dime for college?, The Northwest Herald
Hi there,Yesterday I went to the White House to see President Obama sign the bill that would keep the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4%.I took some pictures... they probably won't win any awards, but I tried:
This bill needed to be passed. It took months of hard work from everyone: campaigners, organizers, researchers, and policy wonks at organizations like Campus Progress, US PIRG, the US Students Association, CREDO, and Rebuild the Dream -- and the tens of thousands of folks who signed petitions, made calls, wrote letters, and shared their student debt stories.But we really, really, really aren't finished here. Keeping the interest rate at 3.4% is the very least that must be done. It's a small step. Just a few days after the bill passed, this happened -- it was a decision that was made months ago, and just recently went into effect:
Lawmakers ended a long-standing program that pays the interest on federally subsidized loans for six months after a student graduates from college. The change applies to new loans issued through July 2014...."It really makes the loans kind of unpredictable and hard to understand for students and families when these changes are happening through the budget process," said Megan McClean, managing director of policy and federal relations for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a trade group.
No more grace period. That is unacceptable.When I graduated in 2011, I relied on that interest-free grace period so I could get my life in check. I knew I had 6 months to start paying back my government loans (private student loans? Had to start paying those off immediately) and didn't have to worry about interest building up.I took the money I saved up by working throughout high school and college and moved to Washington, D.C. so I could immediately start working and saving more. I was used to living on my own and I'd been financially independent since starting college. I'd made sure to have a string of good internships to build up a strong resume. Throughout college, it was always in the back of my mind that I'd have to start paying off my loans not long after graduating.That interest-free six months saved me money so I could take a gamble by moving to D.C. and make some big life decisions. That's what you do after college, right?America can't afford to not fund education. When, as a country, you're gearing students up to go to college, you shouldn't just suddenly wipe your hands clean when they hit 18 and say, "Sorry, you're on your own now." And then shovel them off to the side and hit them with high-interest loans, or suddenly take away a 6-month grace period. What message is that sending to students? To young people?We have so far to go, but this campaign was hugely important. It opened up a conversation about student loan debt. It made it a political issue. As young people and students, we have so much support from people all across America. It's exciting. Now we need to keep the momentum going and organize!Let's go!
Today, President Obama signed a bill that will save students billions of dollars. But Congress didn't send him this bill out of the goodness of their hearts. Last December, Congress eliminated the grace period and lower interest rates for graduate students in budget negotiations -- the only difference now is that students stood up this time to save their benefits.Rebuild the Dream, along with the US Student Association, US PIRG, and Campus Progress, were on the forefront of this issue. Rebuild the Dream members did thousands of phone calls, letters, and more to prevent interest rates from doubling. More than that, they proved that when a group of dedicated people stand up -- they can win.Check out this infographic of all the work you did to make this happen and share or tweet it to tell your friends.
'A Personal Sense of Relief' -- Rebuild the Dream Community Members Share Their Reactions On 'Don't Double'
You Did It! You Told Congress, "Don't Double My Rate," and They Listened
How did one movement save students millions of dollars?
Storified by Rebuild the Dream · Mon, Jul 02 2012 19:39:40
- 330,000 letters and petition signatures
- 16,000 phone calls
- 1 million+ views for our 6 Things You Should Know infographic
- 15,000+ views for our powerful video
- 1,100 heartfelt stories shared on our interactive map
- 3,200 Letters to the Editor; read one member's letter in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- 1 full-page ad in Politico, funded by small dollar donations (I love this ad -- it's so powerful)
Every day, politicians read their morning papers, which are filled with ads from well-funded organizations, trade groups and SuperPACs. This week, they got one from the everyday Americans they represent.
Over 1,000 Rebuild the Dream members pitched in to publish this ad, reminding Congress that while we may not have the same lobbying power student loan providers may have, we do have voting power. Now Washington is taking notice, and members of Congress will remember this as they vote on the bill to prevent Stafford loan rates from doubling.This vote could happen any time in the next two days, and it's more important than ever to call your Senators and tell them to keep student loan rates affordable. Click here to find your representatives and make the call.
A big dealOn July 1, the interest rate on government-subsidized Stafford loans will double. College students can't take on more debt, yet Congress hasn't made any substantial moves to prevent the rate from doubling.When banks can borrow money at near-zero percent interest, it is absurd for the interest rates to double for student loans.Student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Congress should be told that students can't afford for the interest rate to double. This is a big deal.Patrick from St. LouisDid you read another Don't Double My Rate letter in your local paper? Or did your letter get published? Share in the comments!
1. Make Calls (Or Get Your Friends To Make Calls)Did your senators vote against Don't Double in May? Tell them that you noticed and will be voting.Click here to use our call tool. If your senator voted against the last bill, we'll give you the office number, a script, and 5-second quick survey to keep track of your calls. When Senate offices get a large number of phone calls from their constituents on one issue, they take notice.If you get an error message, your senators are already on board. Share the call tool with your friends in different states.
2. Change Your Profile PictureDo your friends know their student loan rates will be doubling this year? Help your friends out. Spread the word by changing your profile picture. We've set up a tool to add a "Don't Double My Rate" ribbon on your Twitter or Facebook profile. After you change your profile picture, be sure to change your status and let your friends know the July 1st deadline is closer than they think.
3. Write a Letter to the EditorYour congressional offices read every local newspaper and every editorial in those papers. Make your statement somewhere they can't ignore you.Use our Letter to the Editor tool to write a letter to your local newspaper.Editorials in support of Don't Double My Rate are already springing up across the country, but they need to hear your story, and they need to hear it soon.We're counting on you to win this fight to reduce student debt, so spread the word by clicking the "Like" and "Tweet" buttons on this post when you're done.
“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.”Sen. Rubio voted with 44 other Republicans to block debate on the proposal.What Rubio didn't say was that the Republican proposal would completely deplete a public health fund in order to pay for the bill.