U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson used Baker University Center as a stage this week to note the start of the new federal College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, which will lower interest rates for student loans over the next three years.
Under the law, interest rates dropped from nearly 7 percent Monday to 6 percent Tuesday and will be lowered for each of the next three years, reaching 3.4 percent by 2011.
Wilson -- who represents Ohio's Sixth Congressional District, which includes Athens -- said the rate cuts will increase financial aid by more than $20 billion in the next five years, with no additional costs to taxpayers. Also speaking in support of the new law at the press conference Tuesday on campus were two Ohio University students, Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl, Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith and Director of Student Financial Aid Soni Williams.
"This law will make a series of cuts on the interest rate of federal need-based student loans," said Wilson, an Ohio University alumnus. "By 2011, it will cut the rate on those loans in half for millions of student borrowers."
Over the same period, the law also will increase the value of Pell Grant scholarships to $5,400, benefitting 204,000 Ohio students who receive the grant. It also includes tuition assistance for high-achieving undergraduates who will teach in the public education system, loan forgiveness after 10 years of public service and loan repayment options for graduates who choose a career in vital public service positions.
-- Jennifer Krisch