Tempe area Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is bringing college student stories to the floor of the House of Representatives.
The first term Democrat has helped to organize an online initiative called "Drop that Debt", which encourages college students across the country to share their stories. Sinema, in turn, pledges to read them on the House floor as lawmakers have yet to make progress on rolling back student loan interest rates.
Those rates doubled on July 1, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, because of congressional inaction to extend the lower rates for another year.
"Students go back to school the third week of August," said Sinema. "We have to fix it by then."
"We're crippling them with this kind of debt," said NAU junior Jack Sawyer. "Over sixty percent of students are leaving college with some kind of debt."
Sawyer works with the Arizona Student Association, an advocacy group working on behalf of public university students.
"It's a massive problem. I know people leaving college who are over $60,000 in debt," he said.
"The one person I'm talking about just got out of school, and they're already defaulting because it's such a massive amount to pay each month, they need to have a well paying job to get a leg up."
The Arizona Public Interest Research Group estimates that the increase in student loan rates will cost every Arizona student, on average, just under $1,000.
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