The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) is concerned about the financial future of the next generation of leaders. If Congress does not act by July 1, federal student loan rates are set to double, meaning that the average student with federal loans will have to pay additional interest rate costs.
We know that African-American and Latino students have heavier educational loan debt than their white counterparts. According to the Center for American Progress, the black student loan debt ratio is 81 percent, for Latinos it is 67 percent and white students are at 64 percent. Higher student loan rates would create an undue burden on students and families of color in particular.
A central component of CBCF’s mission is to develop the next generation of leaders. We accomplish this by awarding scholarships and through our paid internship and fellowship programs. As the economy has wavered, we have seen an increase in applications for each of these programs. We have also heard success stories about how these funds have directly helped students remain in school, giving hope and opportunity to hundreds of families across the country.
Many families are struggling to make ends meet. An increase in student loan interest rates, especially for a number of African-American households, could make a real difference in deciding on the feasibility of higher education.