AUSTIN – Please see the following statement from The University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., regarding new interest rates for federally subsidized student loans. Congress was not able to reach an agreement by the July 1 deadline to extend a 2007 law that cut the rates. As of today, rates on Stafford loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
“It’s very disappointing that an agreement was not reached in time to avoid this huge increase in interest rates which will no doubt create hardship for thousands of college students. Leaders at the University of Texas System are extremely concerned about rising rates and what they mean in the long term for access to higher education. This unfortunate scenario underscores how important it is that we continue our efforts to make college more affordable and do all we can to help students graduate on time and avoid taking on unnecessary debt.
“UT’s Framework for Advancing Excellence includes specific actions to increase undergraduate student success, and a key goal is to reduce the financial burden higher education places on students and their families. We are working to improve graduation rates in a variety of ways, including implementing innovative plans to bolster student advising, increasing access to technology and online courses to ensure students can take the classes they need to graduate, and developing tuition plans that provide a financial incentive to shorten their time to degree and enhance four-year graduation rates.
“We’ve studied the issue of student debt in depth, convening a task force made up of educators, financial experts and students who provided us with crucial information and novel recommendations. We will continue to focus on this important issue, and will strive to create an environment of access and opportunity where economic disadvantage will not remain a barrier to success.”